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Sunday, May 15, 2005

The purple finger of death

From Hannah Allam of Knight Ridder via Juan Cole (emphasis added):
"Two weeks of intense insurgent violence have made it crystal clear that Iraq's parliamentary elections, hailed in late January as a triumph for democracy, haven't helped to heal the country's deep divisions. They may have made them worse. The historic election sheared off a thin facade of wartime national unity and reinforced ethnic and sectarian tensions that have plagued Iraq for centuries. Iraqis immediately began playing the roles the election results delivered to them: victorious Shiite Muslim, assertive Kurd, disaffected Sunni Arab. Within those groups lies a mosaic of other splits, especially between secularists and Islamists vying for Iraq's soul."
Hey! We've got something in common with Iraq! Our elections made things worse, too!

Democracy is much more than elections. Without an informed electorate, sincere and qualified candidates, the lack of corrupting influences like money and violence, and a widespread respect for and insistence on fairness and impartiality in conducting elections, votes like November 2 and January 30 are just smokescreens. The Iraqi sham election may have been just one more disaster to hit that country; the US sham election was a huge disaster for the entire world.