Forman & Son managing director Lance Forman tackles the riddle of democracy


- Credit: Carmen Valino - on shift

There are many poor Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and Christians in the world, but they don’t go blowing other people up, or themselves up, because they have a grievance with their lack of financial status.

The attacks in Paris are nothing to do with poverty stricken Muslim enclaves in France, or Belgium for that matter, although that is where the actors are recruited from.

The directors of these attacks and sponsors of terrorism have no shortage of wealth and funding. This is not about western foreign policy either. 9/11 happened before Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is all about the riddle of democracy and the challenge of theocracy; a clash of civilisations. In a democracy we uphold the views of everyone, even those who don’t believe in democracy. But what happens if those who don’t believe grow into a majority, take control and withdraw rights from those who empowered them in the first place. Democracy has its limits.

The West fails to understand the Middle Eastern countries which were controlled by dictators needed to be controlled in this way because they were not ready for democracy and without totalitarian leadership tribal warfare would have led to even more bloodshed.

Ridding Egypt of its military dictator Hosni Mubarak to be replaced by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood through the ballot box was pointless, because the Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in minority rights and dissenters under Sharia Law are persecuted. This conundrum is made more complex because much of our oil is mined from those rocks and hard places and this colours our judgement. Perhaps we should have allowed the dictators to continue to dictate until true democratic revolutions occurred in those countries, where the people who rise up not only say ‘enough’, but respect the rights of those who don’t share their beliefs.

For now, maybe it’s better the devils we know, but that does not mean we should encourage those devils, as we do in Iran, by agreeing to remove sanctions and empowering those who repress any real stirrings of democracy. More from Lance

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