I don’t support Saddam, but neither do I support his death in the hands of an US influenced judicial system. For once it’s no point thanking God that I’m not American, because the death of Saddam is blood on all our hands. Both Saddam’s victims and Saddam life are on the hands of the global community. We are all responsible. And all the perfumes of Arabia will never sweeten our hands.
Our Indian government was cautiously against the US/UK war against Iraq. But only grudgingly did they say anything. If they had it their way, they would have shut up entirely. Of course, when the jingoism was for a “war against terror” then of course India complied… we had our own “terrorists” to deal with! But India did say that US should work within UN directives, which of course US was not willing to wait for.
Basically we were quietened… shut up… bullied by a power greater than our own. We shut up (by our own will too)… and didn’t force the Bush led US government to change its shameless way. And so we too were (are) guilty. We wanted good relations with those stronger than us… and in some ways, we got it (but as grudgingly as we voiced protest and support).
So why is all this the death of democracy? Because I don’t support Saddam’s death. Of course I’m not one of Saddam’s victims, but it is a myth that US action for the death of Saddam was the genuine uncoloured voice of the Iraqi people.
Yet who cares what I think! Surely the US government has no need to listen to me. Democracy, like the US led, is selfishly geared to its own national interest. Each democracy functions in isolaton to another (especially if the democracy is supported by military might). Meaning, even if the Indian government voted against the war in Iraq, even if all of us Indians got together and rejected the Bush-stance… US would still have its way in Iraq. And of course that is the way the world works.
But then, what if I want the US to hear my voice. I would need the Indian government to support/herald my voice. And for that to happen, I would have to appeal to my local government representative, who would then have to raise the issue with the state head, who would then have to convince the central government that this issue had merit, and then the house of parliament would have to go through its diplomatic channels to express itself. Obviously that’s bypassing the whole beuraucracy that entangles democracy. And such a thing has never, and will never happen. Basically, nobody cares what I (I being metaphorical for those minor voices that don’t correspond to majority voices, or safe voices) think. And actually no one ever did care about random voices have to say as long as “national interest” as defined by the ruling government is maintained.
Democracy promised the common reasonable man a voice. But that promise has been shown to be an illusion. Yes we have a vote, that is basically one number among 1 billion. And the logic is… if one billion people think something is true, and then, the one who doesn’t conform is wrong… and silenced. Without getting into the age old democracy validity debate, More importantly, democracy is about the promise that one voice can be heard in a billion. But obviously that is impossible in today’s power world. Only the significant majority and significant minorities have a voice. Bring “numbers” (read power) and you will be heard. Threaten to vote against the government (oppose! dharnas etc) you will be heard.
In the global world… what has actually happened is that America and Britain acted in national-self-interest… (please it was not to save the world… it was to save their own world!)… they did not listen to the voice of the UN nor other smaller nations. That a country is justified to protect itself I do not argue against, I’m just saying that the US did what it wanted for its national interest… not what the world (or even what Iraqis) wanted. Remember the vote for Saddam before the invasion, where he “won” by 99/100% something. the “world” said the vote was a sham. If it is possible to fake national polls, what makes us believe that the US “now” knows exactly what the Iraqis want and need.
The smaller voices or protest… be it from Iran, India, or any other nation… were silenced. Regardless of “numbers” we did not have “signifant (read powerful) numbers”. Instead we witnessed big bullies push their own agenda… and we had to follow suit. Of course, we “smaller” nations were too interesting in our own national interests in the first place to be bothered about human rights violations in other countries. And so… actually, we were (and are) just as selfish as the US. So only why blame them? (and that’s NOT what I’m trying to do here)
This brings me to the death of Saddam (that reveals not causes the death of democracy). If democracy is about voices, we see today the death of voices that need to be heard but cannot be heard. We need to see voices that oppose the wrong… and WIN! we need the victory of good. we need the prophets to arise… and nations to repent (hmmm… you get the picture). But instead, only power is heard. The only time, a voice is heard today, is by death. Terrorists kill and are heard. The powerful Military nation US kills (Afghanis/Iraqis) and it is heard. Israel… Palestine… Kashmir… Manipur… Naxals… tamils… list goes on… who is actually heard there? Where is the democracy. Fact is, it is the military(power) that attempts to set up the voices of the common people, and when it is “achieved” then the not-so-common-rulers use the military (power) to enforce/maintain status quo.
But democracy is killed. And sadly its death is more quiet. subtle. without video footage.