Democracy and the peculiarity of Gulf

 02 May 2013 - 1:41

Day after a day, the circle is widening and it is getting difficult to overlook it or stop its growth. Demands for change and reform in the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, especially at the top of the power pyramid, have been made strongly on the streets of these countries and have manifested themselves clearly in the media, particularly the social media, among them the social networking website Twitter in particular.

The official reactions to this have been in the form of imposition of restrictive laws that gave the go-ahead for detention and arrest of tweeters and national figures.

In his book “What is democracy?” French thinker Alain Touraine disregards the classical definitions of the concept of democracy and instead focuses on the nature, essence and forms of democracy across the world.

Touraine also focuses on democracy as a modern and civilized alternative upon which modern societies have been built. Many Gulf countries have glorified this option for a long time, but far from exercising it, they seem to have turned against it.

This is a problem facing many Arab societies before and after the Arab Spring revolutions; they are passing through the end of colonialism and totalitarian regimes to political and ideological groups and movements. 

Theories on the concept of democracy focus on four main pillars, according to the Tunisian philosopher Zuhair Al Khuaildy. First is political democracy, which means civil freedoms, including freedom of thinking, creativity, political pluralism and the right to difference of opinion. 

The second pillar is economic democracy, which means the participation of workers in managing the institutions they work for. 

The third pillar is social democracy, which means enabling individuals to enjoy security and social justice. The fourth, according to Al Khuaildy, is personal democracy, which is based on giving priority to individual motives over social ones, because social progress will never happen unless there is the individual’s progress.

Democracy is not a political system but rather an approach, a cultural, civilizational and social option that has been formed by the collective will of the rulers and the ruled. 

Claiming that there is a peculiarity (Gulf, Arab, national, religious and doctrinal) that does not allow adoption of democracy is a pretext aimed at distorting facts, concealing them, and evading the responsibilities democracy brings.

The authorities in the Arab world are trying, through these pretexts, to justify their arbitrariness, tyranny and hold on power. They use such justifications to stop the wheel of change and nip change in the bud.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the Arab Spring revolutions is that they have disproved the argument that Arab people are not qualified or prepared for democracy due to their composition, culture and religious heritage. Such ideas are associated in Western societies with Arabs and Islam, despite the fact that even democracies have made wrong choices in many cases.

 

Day after a day, the circle is widening and it is getting difficult to overlook it or stop its growth. Demands for change and reform in the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, especially at the top of the power pyramid, have been made strongly on the streets of these countries and have manifested themselves clearly in the media, particularly the social media, among them the social networking website Twitter in particular.

The official reactions to this have been in the form of imposition of restrictive laws that gave the go-ahead for detention and arrest of tweeters and national figures.

In his book “What is democracy?” French thinker Alain Touraine disregards the classical definitions of the concept of democracy and instead focuses on the nature, essence and forms of democracy across the world.

Touraine also focuses on democracy as a modern and civilized alternative upon which modern societies have been built. Many Gulf countries have glorified this option for a long time, but far from exercising it, they seem to have turned against it.

This is a problem facing many Arab societies before and after the Arab Spring revolutions; they are passing through the end of colonialism and totalitarian regimes to political and ideological groups and movements. 

Theories on the concept of democracy focus on four main pillars, according to the Tunisian philosopher Zuhair Al Khuaildy. First is political democracy, which means civil freedoms, including freedom of thinking, creativity, political pluralism and the right to difference of opinion. 

The second pillar is economic democracy, which means the participation of workers in managing the institutions they work for. 

The third pillar is social democracy, which means enabling individuals to enjoy security and social justice. The fourth, according to Al Khuaildy, is personal democracy, which is based on giving priority to individual motives over social ones, because social progress will never happen unless there is the individual’s progress.

Democracy is not a political system but rather an approach, a cultural, civilizational and social option that has been formed by the collective will of the rulers and the ruled. 

Claiming that there is a peculiarity (Gulf, Arab, national, religious and doctrinal) that does not allow adoption of democracy is a pretext aimed at distorting facts, concealing them, and evading the responsibilities democracy brings.

The authorities in the Arab world are trying, through these pretexts, to justify their arbitrariness, tyranny and hold on power. They use such justifications to stop the wheel of change and nip change in the bud.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of the Arab Spring revolutions is that they have disproved the argument that Arab people are not qualified or prepared for democracy due to their composition, culture and religious heritage. Such ideas are associated in Western societies with Arabs and Islam, despite the fact that even democracies have made wrong choices in many cases.