June 23rd, 2012

sunrays

A country in free fall

Just a month ago Egypt looked likely to make its first steps to democracy. The country got its parliament after open elections that had surprisingly proceeded without bloodshed. It was dominated by Islamists, but still it was elected on free elections and it started learning how to work properly. It even selected a commission for drafting a new Constitution. Public enemy number 1, Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life prison, and the presidential election was promising an interesting battle between 5 strong candidates. The plan was that the military would hand the power over to the new head of state by July, whoever the new president would be. But within just a week, all of this has turned upside down.

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Godzilla, default

This year is the centennial anniversary of:

The establishment of the state of Libya.

This came about by one of the more interesting forgotten wars of the past, the http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/italo-turkish.htm Italo-Turkish War of 1911-2.
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States that seem old and/or "backwards/medieval" in the modern age are in reality all of them no older than the 19th Century at the most generous, the 20th Century at the most typical. Thus we should be wary of generalizing about entire regions based on cliches that have never held true and from judging states based on legacies of conquests and dictatorships imposed from abroad. Perhaps the locals will run themselves just as nastily as the people forced on them did. If they do, what precisely changes? If they don't, how do democracies impose dictatorships by brute force on people who want democracy and have any genuine claim to represent freedom at all?