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Democracy and Arab Political Culture by Elie Kedourie download in ePub, pdf, iPad

It maybe the best antidote to old religious and sectarian solidarities and competing models as in Iraq and Lebanon - in short, the parochial institutionalization of power. They all crave the attention and revel in the whimsical arbitrariness that accompany being number one, including hobnobbing with world leaders. These foundations, after all, are what has eventually tamed the chauvinistic, violent, even genocidal depredations of similarly unmoored and varied nationalisms in Europe. Arab nationalism purported to fill the vacuum.

Against this backdrop, Kedourie ponders democracy's prospects in the Middle East. Moral liberation and virtuous persons and societies are possible only in a free public space which can support the undiluted application of reason and rationality. Decades of instability, repression, and failure, in themselves, have taught an entire generation, more educated, urban, literate, of the urgent need for a better way. In fact, Arab nationalism was no more than what the narrow ruling regimes said it was at any one time, thus leaving them unhindered to amass and monopolize power. Nor was it capable of governing with widespread authority and legitimacy.

It maybe the best

All twenty-one member states of the Arab League, for example, are ruled by individuals who reached power without the mandate of their citizens. Libya and the Sudan after get cursory treatment too. Whether Islamists have a political theory and culture to resolve the great problem of authority is questionable.

As soon as news emerged that the Libyan protestors were also planning to take to the streets, I was horror-struck. This amounts to bureaucratic or tyrannical one party or no party states, violently crushing civil society, suffocating public space, privately owning and enriching themselves on state resources. The revolting Arab publics offer much hope that essentially liberal states, naturally reflecting Arab culture, will emerge, despite structural problems and dependency. Whatever form this takes in each state, that way is political authority whose foundation is popular consent. It is a promise to which a changing political Islam could gravitate, while potentially breaking the cycle of Islamist resistance and state repression.

They all crave the attention