Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Palestine = Democracy - Food (or something)

Here is what the scribe got from the "Washington Post" GlobalChat moderator today:

Dear Bloggers,

Below is our next question. It will go live publically tomorrow. If
you would like to post a response, put it in the comment thread and
email me here and we'll feature your reply, of any length.

LEDE: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said bread is more
important than democracy, and he may be preparing to dissolve the
Hamas-led Palestinian parliment.

QUESTION: Does a leader have a right to bypass democratic institutions
to ensure his people are fed and secure?

- posed by panelist Daoud Kuttab

Here is the scribe's answer:

What does Abbas have in mind? New elections? That’s perfectly kosher (oops) because it’s consistent with parliamentary democracy. If he wants to do away with popular representation, well, then you have a situation 43 would call “unacceptable.” You have to figure it out; how to feed people and have your democracy. Otherwise what are you good for? Democracy is suppose to provide the best situation for feeding your people. Invoking the extremity of circumstances should not dissolve democratic safeguards and processes. That’s when they are most needed. Abbas is taking a page from the Bush administration’s rollback of civil rights to fight THE WAR ON TERROR. The conceit here is that democracy and rights and environmental safeguards are touchy-feely things anomalous to the hard core job of KEEPING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SAFE. In reality, they are our best offering to ourselves and the world, the pretext under which we wage our war of ideas with fundamentalist hordes

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