O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

sexta-feira, janeiro 30, 2004

Iraq Beginning to Become a Normal Society

Excertos do artigo de Amir Taheri no Arab News

At a radio phone-in program the other day I was taken to task by some listeners for what they believed is Iraq?s ?slide into chaos.? ?You campaigned for the liberation of Iraq and now look what has happened!?

This was followed by a ?what has happened? list of events that included Shiites demonstrating, Kurds asking for autonomy, Sunnis sulking, and various political parties and groups tearing each other apart in the Iraqi media over the shape of the future constitution.

The truth, however, is that, far from sliding into chaos or heading toward civil war, Iraq is beginning to become a normal society. And all normal societies face uncertainties just as do all normal human beings.

One should welcome the gradual emergence of a normal political life in Iraq after nearly half a century of brutal despotism, including 35 years of exceptionally murderous Baathist rule.

The central aim of the war in Iraq, at least as far as I am concerned, was to create conditions in which Shiites can demonstrate without being machine-gunned in the streets of Baghdad and Basra, while the Kurds are able to call for autonomy without being gassed by the thousands as they were in Halabja under Saddam.

It is good that Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani can issue fatwas, something he could not have done under Saddam Hussein. It is even better that those who disagree with the grand ayatollah could say so without being murdered by zealots.


The Iraqis are now free to debate all aspects of their individual and national life. The fact that different, often conflicting views are now expressed without fear should be seen as a positive achievement of the liberation. Democracy includes the freedom to demonstrate, especially against those in charge, and to ?tear each other apart? in the media and town-hall political debates. It also includes the difficulty of reaching a consensus on major issues. Those who follow Iraqi politics would know that Iraq today is the only Arab country where all shades of opinion are now free to express themselves and to compete for influence and power in a free market of ideas


The US-led coalition that now controls Iraq could well revert to that despotic tradition by imposing an artificial consensus. The fact that the coalition has chosen not to do is to its credit. Real consensus is bound to be harder to achieve and Iraq is certain to experience a lively political debate, including mass demonstrations and a war of leaflets, until a compromise is reached on how to form a provisional government and how to handle the task of writing a new constitution.

Most Iraqi political figures, acting out of habit, constantly turn to the coalition authorities with the demand that their own view be adopted and imposed by fiat. The coalition should resist the temptation to dictate terms. It should also refrain from making any partial alliances. Today, the entire Iraqi nation, in all its many different components, could be regarded, at least potentially, as a friend of the US and its allies.

The US-led coalition should accept that the road ahead will be bumpy. But that is not necessarily bad news. For democracy is nothing but a journey on constantly bumpy roads.

posted by Miguel Noronha 3:15 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

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