OPINION

‘Western’ democracy

I heard a well-known television presenter stating his surprise that the six-meter statue of Saddam Hussein knocked down in central Baghdad had been hollow! But copper and bronze statues have always been hollow. The presenter did not need this knowledge for his subsequent observation: that Saddam’s regime also proved to be hollow. This is hardly surprising, as all the dictatorial and repressive regimes of our age have proved to be hollow, devoid of political and social content. This is why they collapse. Another distinction, that of «Western-style democracy,» is employed by most commentators in explaining the Americans’ notion of creating a democratic regime in Iraq. The controversy is not in whether this democracy is Western or not, but whether a regime which is imposed on a country by violence, and maintained by occupying powers, can be democratic at all. In any case, democracy is a Western concept and the «free market» can only work within a capitalist system. History has proved this. This legitimizes and regulates competition while offering a stable foundation for conflicts of ideas and policies. But what about the social injustices, the inequalities, the violence and war that accompany such a system? Well, many maintain that capitalism actually owes its dynamism to such inequalities and differences, and this is why democracy is necessary.