Everyone is rejoicing about the winds of democracy blowing through the streets of Cairo. Everyone, that is, except the people who truly understand the dangers inherent in allowing the street to dictate foreign and domestic policy, particularly in countries where the street has, more often than not, been a breeding ground for radicalism.
Egypt may very well be the exception to the general rule that so-called ‘democratic’ movements end up empowering tyrants (the Bolshevik and Iranian revolutions come to mind.) But Libya is on fire, Bahrain is shooting to kill, and Tunisia is actively courting Islamic radicals in its midst.
Which brings me to a prescient and disturbing article by a respected expert on the Middle East, Professor Shaul Gabbay. Dr. Gabbay teaches at the University of Denver, and recently published an article about the inherent problem with ‘people’s revolutions in a region of the world where ‘people’ often equates with ‘fundamentalist.’
He has an important message for naïve Americans who swoon at the word ‘democracy’ without understanding its darker side:
Our democracy is predicated upon a diverse system of elected leaders who uphold the values designated in the U.S. Constitution. Our system has built-in checks and balances. The majority rules, but we safeguard the rights of all our citizens, including the minority, and guarantee freedom of speech, press and religion.
In the Muslim world, democracy essentially means Sharia Law — which restricts personal freedoms. The Muslim Brotherhood wants Sharia Law to dominate society. Egypt's future is not set in stone. History suggests the West should expect future uprisings in the Middle East — and be very concerned about the consequences.
Amen to that. Or rather, Inshallah.