Monday, July 10, 2006


Turning to the Dark Side

Khalaf has just posted an interesting article regarding the popularity of terrorist and extremist groups in Jordan. Not surprisingly, the post-11/9 sentiment is begining to erode quite quickly.

There appears to be a sort of mathematical identity present whereby historical evidence suggests that dire economic situations encourage the populace to look towards the extremes of the political-economic spectrum. Years of persecution, oppression, and propaganda have almost completely crippled the socialist left in Jordan. In fact, one could even argue that the Islamic Brotherhood was nurtured to counter the populism of leftists, communists and socialists by the powers that be. And now, what remains is the spectre of right wing Political Islam.

On a different note, I just read Abu-Shreek's comments on democracy. A really good piece in my humble opinion. There appears to have been some sort of mystification process involved in the development of democracy as a viable political system. It appears that the aritifical juxtaposition of economic prosperity and democracy has led to a somewhat sub-conscious association between thew two. However, the real consequential elements of democracy that would foster economic growth are: respect for the rule of law, and guaranteeing private proerty rights. These are of course, not exclusive to a democratic system, but are more readily available through the ballot box.

Aside from all the political theory, I firmly believe that what individuals want by and large is prosperity, stability and security. If a government, democractic or otherwis,e provides the general population with this ideal, all political grandstanding becomes completely irrlevant.

Democracy is not an end result, it is not a destination or an idyllic form of political existence. It is an imperfect ideology whose flaws are glaringly illuminated when populism comes into play. However, it remains a conduit through which economic prosperity can be acheived.

The seemingly egalitarian institutions of democracy can be easily hijacked and subverted. The two-party system is a direct example of this. Furthermore, there exists the erroneous assumption that the establishment of democracy leads to the adoption of centrist politics by civil society. There only exists a corellation between centrism and democracy because of the Western experience. People often neglect to remember that Western societies enjoyed affluence and prosperity long before democracy became a buzz word.

Irrational decisions often plague civil society, especially in times of crisis, as the Arab world and specifically Jordan are finding out right now. An artifical imposition of democracy or democratic ideals will not lead in any way to the elevation of individuals from misery. Indeed, the only thing capable of doing that is economic reform, which would then lead to economic prosperity.

Democracy has been successfully built up as this sort of demi-god ideology and a blissfull state of being, but rather it is simply a method that has worked well for the West in furthering its own prosperity. It does not necessarily translate to prosperity.

The sad or happy truth (depending on how you look at it) is that Religion, Democracy and other socio-political constructs can be easily traded in for a BMW in every drive way, a live-in Sri Lankan maid and 3 story house.

Thanks a lot. i am glad that you read my piece.

Please allow me to comment on these points you made:

-"what individuals want by and large is prosperity, stability and security" ...that is THE problem, because people SETTLE for the above three and ignore (justice, equality, freedom, independence, morals,...) This is the same passive mentality that promotes.. "well,as long as I am safe and able to eat it is all good...".

-"Democracy is not an end result,..., it remains a conduit through which economic prosperity can be acheived".
(by "economic prosperity" I am guessing that you mean the availability of basic needs (food, shelter,…) and beyond (free education, free heath services…) to the majority of the population, not the “entrepreneurial”, exploiting fraud, that benefits minimal numbers of so-called “businessmen” prosperity.But ven those basics are sometimes sacrificed (at least temporarily) in the process of getting rid of injustice and immoral political systems that does not meet the population hopes and standards.

-“ The sad or happy truth ( is that Religion, Democracy and other socio-political constructs can be easily traded in …..”, this is not only sad, it is tragic and heartbreaking, yet so true. Is there any scenario that would make it justifiable to sell out any and every principle for crumbs? Sometimes the trade in is done in exchange for a Falafel sandwich and 50 cents...

If you get a chance,please check out this piece.
you comment has inspired to write another post, Ir ead your sellout piece.

I agree with you in terms of perceiving opposition in Jordan to be nothing more than a farce. What's worrying is the public support whereby a vast majority of th population back what is a farsical islamic platform that in reality is not real opposition. But population still clings to islamism as an ideology.

I think that some introspection is needed before Jordanian civil society dives head onto the democracy bandwagon. I don't think people relize a lot of th dangers and associations made with democracy. furthermore, I don't think democracy necessarily leads to all those great things you mentioned . Especially not in Jordan's case

but thank you for reading i appreciate it.
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