We think we’re so wise in the West, encouraging the adoption of our kind of democracy. Egypt as an example, has one of the longest histories of any modern state, having been continuously inhabited since the 10th Millennium BC. It also has the oldest parliamentary tradition in the Arab world, establishing a popular assembly as long ago as 1866. It was us, the British, who caused that to be disbanded in 1882, by invading them. We allowed the country to only have a consultative body. It was only after their independence was declared in 1923 that a new constitution was declared which allowed for a parliamentary monarchy. Since that time there have been many changes, not all good by any means.
But is it for us to interfere?
The list of countries in crisis politically is almost endless, but surely the function of other countries is to provide humanitarian aid, and sometimes a safe haven. When the West interferes crises inevitably escalate purely on the basis that our ‘help’ is not wanted in the majority of cases. The resulting refugee situations that always follow such interference and the danger from ordnance left, such as mines, causes almost as much harm as the West claims it’s trying to avert.
And who are we to talk anyway?
The West’s nemesis, Russia is now led by a man who is bent it seems, on gradually putting the Soviet states back together, no doubt with him as its leader. People who oppose him end up in jail, even in so-called elections. The other dark horse, North Korea doesn’t really bear thinking about.
America wrenched itself away from a brutal tyrant in the form of us, England (as it was then), but savagely treated the American Indians to gain land for themselves and to dominate. They also took many diseases to the country that the Indian population had no defence against. They bought black slaves of course too, though a largely odd fact that never seems to get mentioned, that most of those slaves, gathered in African countries like Dahomey (Benin), Sierra Leone, Biafra, the Congo, were kidnapped and sold by other black people, mainly traders or pirates, and often under Government contracts. Black people today in America do not always get a fair deal, but then neither do a number of white people, gay people, or vulnerable and/or disabled people.
And the UK! Slavery existed here too and was only finally abolished throughout the British Empire by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. In Ceylon (Sri Lanka) it was still in existence till 1843. Men still touched their forelock to the gentry up to and beyond the First World War. It was only after the Second World War, when women having had to work in the ammunition factories and finding themselves being forced back to the kitchen sink, and men realising that their blood was the same colour as the gentry’s, that people started to get educated and achieved a kind of equality. Of course even today, in the 21st century, women don’t get equal opportunities for jobs, nor get equal salaries for doing the same work. Ethnic minorities still often find themselves on the receiving end of abuse or violence, or both. Gay and Lesbian people still find people looking down their collective noses at them. We have some members of the Police who let down the majority by behaving criminally, as is true also in the NHS, and the Press, and of course in politics, where there is so much corruption it doesn’t give them any credibility at all.
We are no paragons ourselves. So as I say, who are we to interfere?
Who the hell do we think we are?
©Joe Wilson – Democracy…as long as it suits us.2014