Amir Taheri in a recent article for The Australian:
Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?
Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism? Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?
Those interested in the health of Western democracies would do well to ponder those questions.
Appareantly, there are plans in the works for large demonstrations for the upcoming two-year Anniversary of the liberation of Iraq. Oops, I mean, the "occupation of Iraq." Say's Taheri:
The aim is not to celebrate the event and express solidarity with the emerging Iraqi democracy, but to vilify George W. Bush and Tony Blair, thus lamenting the demise of Saddam Hussein.
Taheri called up the organizers to see if it were possible to have representation for the support of the democracy movements in the Middle East.
In both cases the answer was a categorical no, accompanied by a torrent of abuse about "all those who try to justify American aggression against Iraq".
But was it not possible to condemn "American aggression" and then express support for the democratic movement in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world? In most cases we were not even allowed to ask the question. In one or two cases we received mini-lectures on how democracy cannot be imposed by force. The answer to that, of course, is that in Iraq no one tried to impose democracy by force. In Iraq force was used to remove the enemies of democracy from power so as to allow its friends to come to the fore.
There is not even room for dialogue that Democracy in the Middle East MIGHT be a good thing, and deserving of our support.