Monday, April 11, 2011

West Dismisses 40-year Repression of Libyans

As the Gaddafi regime continues to wage war on the Libyan people and the coalition-backed uprising risks falling into a stalemate, many pundits have speculated about what might happen next, not only with regard to the potential problems facing Libya if and when it enters its post-Gaddafi phase, but also with respect to the fitness of Libyans, as well as the rest of the Arab world, for representative democracy.

While several observers have pontificated endlessly about tribalism, political vacuums and civil war, others have raised the spectre of Islamic extremists gaining a foothold in Libya and in other Arab countries where people continue to demand political reform and democratic governments.

Shortly after the Libyan uprising began, Bernard Lewis, a Middle East historian and Princeton's Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies, weighed in on the wave of pro-democracy movements that have swept the region.

Reductio ad Hitlerum

According to an interview published in the Jerusalem Post:
Lewis regards a dash toward Western-style elections, far from representing a solution to the region's difficulties, as constituting 'a dangerous aggravation' of the problem, and fears that radical Islamic movements would be best placed to exploit so misguided a move.
Bernard Lewis, quoted by Al Jazeera

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