Malaysia is a seemingly democratic country in Southeast Asia, but what happened to Anwar Ibrahim at the hands of Mahathir Mohamad?
The first wave of the “Arab Spring” came from Tunisia at the end of 2010. Rashid Ghannouchi, the most mature Muslim political figure of the 21st century, also belongs to this country. Tunisia is again in political turmoil these days. The elected parliament is suspended and the darkness of the dictatorship darkens. Despite Ghannouchi’s selfless sacrifice, the tree of democracy does not bear fruit
Not only Tunisia, but the Arab Spring has turned into autumn everywhere. What happened in Syria? Bashar al-Assad became president again a few months ago with 95% of the vote. The gallows are constantly inhabited and the hanging poles are constantly fed in Egypt. President-elect Morsi’s funeral was lifted from prison, as was his son. A similar scene is also visible in Bangladesh. Iran is also going to the polls, but how? Only those selected by the shura keepers are required to participate. The story of Turkish democracy can be heard from Fatehullah Golen.
Malaysia is a seemingly democratic country in Southeast Asia, but what happened to Anwar Ibrahim at the hands of Mahathir Mohamad? The past and present of Pakistani democracy are known to us. In Afghanistan, the world saw the democracy of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban do not believe in democracy and who are not mentioned there are kingdoms.
In the 20th century, when human history took a turn and entered the era of nation states, its political structure also changed. Monarchy was replaced by democracy. The second experience with democracy in the non-Muslim world was that of the communist state. Much of Eastern Europe remained under this control, until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now there is only democracy. Communist countries still have dictatorships. Somewhere personal and somewhere the one-party system of dictatorship.
Although democracy has become an integral part of political faith in the non-Communist world, it has not flourished anywhere in the Muslim world. Even those who came with the power to vote ultimately wanted all the power to come to them. Some sociologists have come to the conclusion that the psychological structure of Muslim society is the reason that is not conducive to democracy. Is this correct or is it because of the Muslim history which consists of the monarchy? If not, then is it because of our understanding of Islam which does not accept any center of non-divine power?
By democracy, I mean the political system in which the collective wisdom of the people is entitled to power. The majority of the people can attribute the right to an individual or a group to look after the interests of the people. If he does not, the people have the right to replace this group with another. This group should decide what is the foreign policy of the country, what will be the economy and what is the national interest?
In a democracy, the majority has the right to power, but the majority has the responsibility to respect the opinion of the minority. For this, it is necessary to guarantee freedom of expression in society. The minority should have the right to present its position to the people as it sees fit. It is possible that today’s minority opinion will become tomorrow’s majority opinion. This is essential for the natural evolution of society. If a society does not guarantee freedom of expression, it becomes a pond instead of a flowing river where the process of intellectual decay takes place and the continuation of which destroys the living meaning of society.
When it is said that there is no democracy in Muslim societies, it means that the power to decide is the power of a particular class rather than of the people. It could be religious elites. He could be king. It can be an authority. It could be a family. It could be a single party. This is the case today in all Muslim countries. People do not have the right to decide their own destiny. One who has obtained power for whatever reason is unwilling to give it up.
The Muslim masses are not ready to protest against undemocratic governments. Does this mean the process is accepted? Somewhere, the state is able to prevent people from protesting by offering them a certain economic comfort. There is a blanket of fear that falls on society; fear of life, fear of honor, fear of wealth. Somehow the reason is people’s frustration with politics.
Where there is democracy in the world today, was there no fear of life and property? Hasn’t religious sentiment been exploited? Of course it was. Nobody knows the power of the church in Europe. The king’s fear was not less. Yet what happened after all was that the fear of the king remained, nor the fear of the church? A democratic society was born and the people became the source of power. There was a change that today no political system other than democracy can be imagined.
It is because of the intellectual struggle of about three hundred years. The struggle that changed people’s perspective. This uprooted their age-old political, social and religious ideas and sowed a new crop of ideas. This resulted in strong political and social institutions. These institutions agreed on a system of basic values, with democracy at the top. Today, no one can impose them without the will of the people.
The history of Muslim societies is without this intellectual struggle. Even if we had made the slightest effort, it was a revival of ancient times called rebirth. If our sages dreamed of the future, that too was in the mirror of the past. Nothing new could be settled with this idea. We have understood the meaning of our commitment to religion to keep old institutions alive. It was a true understanding of religion, not of society. The result is before us that even those who come to power by vote want to become Amir al-Momineen. Whether Muslim political leaders are dressed in tribal garb, jaba and dastar, or modern garb, their concept of governance will be one: the concentration of power.
For democracy, Muslim societies must first go through a phase of intellectual struggle. They must create a new intellectual narrative. They must create political institutions capable of defending democracy. Likewise, democracy cannot be defended without political parties based on democratic principles. If there is no strong civil society, it is not possible to inculcate democratic values, which can effectively defend people’s rights to dissent.
If this stage is not fixed, democracy cannot come to Muslim countries. In this intellectual journey, our results will not necessarily be the same as those of the West. They may be different, but the path is this: the intellectual and political reorganization of society. Otherwise, only the power formulas of the partnership will be discussed, as it happens in some countries nowadays, apparently the vote will take place, but it will be decided in advance which party will receive how many seats. We will know that Bashar al-Assad will get 95% and Hosni Mubarak 90%. These results are so bad that no gallup investigation is necessary