The Middle East Tribune

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Political Democracy is not Enough to Generate Development to Arabs

The relationship of a national authority to citizenry has been the subject of agelong arguments and indeterminate discourse. Most political theorists and analysts have unremittingly debated the way, whether by constraint or consent, social order should be maintained. And what is the best political formation and governance pattern in which people should be guided and governed. Should it be a socialistic system or faith-based structure? Should it be a monarchy, a constitutional monarchy or a democracy?

Patently, the present general preference of most societies leans toward having a democratic political system through which citizens can take part in the directing and developing process of the country. This, however, is because a real democratic system appeared to solve and placate somehow most national political and social contentions. Taking into consideration that a true democracy has to include several political must-haves such as freedom of speech and expression, the right to form political parties and to stand for office, recurring free elections at which all citizens are entitled to vote and have constitutional means to change governments, which would enable the system to contain disagreements.

At its origin, democracy was an assembly to freely discuss political and socioeconomic issues of a society, and establish laws accordingly. With time, the concept of democracy flourished to become the core of most political systems of Western countries. Actually, democracy did not gain its broad momentum until the crash of communism and downslope of socialism at which it turned into a universal form and order that enable societies and nations to develop and live peacefully. Nevertheless, in many advanced democracies, the issue of whether or not democratic methods should render greater social and economic equality, like equal benefiting of national wealth and income, and providing gratis education and health care to population, remains a subject of intense political controversy.

In the developing world and Arab world, in particular, democracy is generally conceived as a political label attached solely to the application of free multiparty elections with which parliamentary representatives, governments and presidents are selected. To most of them, the prevailing current notion of democracy is rather of political nature seeing it somehow unconnected to the socioeconomic policy and structure of the country. Disregarding that the social and economic and conditions of any country, democratic or not, are the most decisive factors in creating public contentment, stability and progress.

In that respect, in spite of the accomplished fact that several Arab revolts, like in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya, have succeeded to overthrow their authoritarian regimes to which they now have freely elected parliaments and governments. Yet, there are no indications or leads to have the impression that these newly enthroned authorities are in the process to address the chronic socioeconomic problems of these countries soon.

On the political theater, the unfortunate result is that these newly instituted governments and parliaments did not clarify so far what are the suitable political settings and democratic model they would consider to reunite the ethnic and religious fabrics of their nations, let alone the question of power sharing of minorities. Last not least, what are the strategies and levels of commitment of these new authorities regarding the real effectuation of the internationally acknowledged human rights, civil liberties, women’s rights and other corresponding issues?

While on the socioeconomic level, Arab Spring governments have not declared heretofore any economic strategies, plans or even dispositions of how they would revitalize the economy, or at least how they would combat unemployment and poverty, for instance. Likewise, what pattern of social service orientations, like education, health care and old-age pension, for example, they plan to underwrite to improve the severe socioeconomic conditions of their citizens?

In all probabilities and practices, political democracy, by itself, is not enough to bring forth security, development and prosperity to the Arab world. At the bottom of it, the incontrovertible reality is that political democracy, economic and social reforms have to be established in quick succession; otherwise, these hastily installed Arab governments will be challenged and unhorsed before long.

Nowadays, the mainstream concern is whether post-revolution governments have the will and fortitude to deliver real reform and development to their troubled societies; or they will just wear and tear the Arab Spring movements to maintain power.

It is reasonable to remind Arab ruling cliques and economic elites that the Arab revolts were originally aroused to eliminate poverty and terminate debasement. Arab people took the streets calling for democracy and justice to embody their urgent need to regain self-worth and well-being.

To all intents, hundreds millions of Arabs deserve to live in the twenty-one century afar from surrealistic ideologies and demagogic policies. Arab spring parliaments, governments and presidents should keep in mind that the Arab uprisings were not stirred up just to replace some tyrants with hesitant party-spirited personas. In fact, the Arab masses were looking for a broad change of the governing system so that they can have decisive reformers and social liberators who can stir the wheels of the country toward modernization and prosperity. Otherwise, we would witness ARAB SPRING II on the Arab theater.


Author’s Note: This article is also published at the Arabian Gazette website.


8 comments on “Political Democracy is not Enough to Generate Development to Arabs

  1. Lillian Zarzar
    October 13, 2012

    Well-written, well-said. Thought-provoking. Thank you for your insightful comments. Trust that others in the Arab community (and otherwise) will take notice.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      October 13, 2012

      Thanks to you Ms. Zarzar. I’m confident that free people will win their cause at the end. The sonner the better.
      Best Regards


  2. Avijit Sinha
    October 13, 2012

    Democratic political system doesn’t mean aping the west. In Asia & Africa, each & every country has a number of ethnic & religious group. Here a two-party system with limited tenure for the ruler does not hold water.


    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      October 13, 2012

      I agree that it’s not necessarily to copy a system from somewhere, but people should take notice of such experiences so that not to make same mistakes.
      Thank you


  3. Phil Cantrill
    September 25, 2012

    You’re right, but the process of “liberation” we have seen in the so-called Arab Spring seems to have been generated solely to remove from power someone that certain world leaders seem to believe opposes their expansionist aims. Witness the continuing chaos in Libya and Egypt under their new regimes, for example. The people are no better off, even though the rulers may perhaps be more compliant to the aims of multinationalists. Nor will the lot of the poor people in Syria be improved if the current “revolution” succeeds — as it probably will eventually, but a horrendous costs to ordinary Syrians.


    • M. Moussalli
      September 25, 2012

      It could be this or that. But without pushing for reform and democracy there will be no chance at all. In any rate, turmoil will last for some time, the Arabs are not adapted to deal with what took place and with what are happeneing nowadays. The Arab world needs support and guidance from the democratized powers to pass this era. The west was waving the flag of promoting democracy for decades, now we will see if these commitments were genuine and true or not.


  4. Carla Dickson
    September 23, 2012

    “In all probabilities and practices, political democracy, by itself, is not enough to bring forth security, development and prosperity to the Arab world.” I couldn’t agree more.

    In my opinion the lack of security, lack of development and prosperity are as important as the democratic political aspects. If your concerns go only to one of this matters you’ll soon end up giving a step back to political developments. Achieving a structured economic and social growth is as important as establishing democratic political roots.

    Congratulations on this article. With your permission I will share it.


    • M. Moussalli
      September 24, 2012

      I share your posted opinion without restraint. Be free to do what you want. It’s my pleasure to know that people like you commend my article.
      Thank you


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© 2018 Mohammad S. Moussalli; ----------------------- Sharing, reblogging, excerpts and republication of this material, or part thereof, are permissible PROVIDED that it's clearly attributed to the author with reference to the original publication.
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