The Wrong Kind of Democracy?

On January 26th, 2006, the extremist Islamic movement, turn political party, Hamas, won an overwhelming majority in the Palestinian federal elections, obtaining 76 of 132 parliamentary seats. There is no question as to whether or not the elections were unfair or crude. In fact, the Palestinian electoral system, which is reminiscent of our own, involves six parties as well as independent candidates, and takes into account minorities such as Christians and women by setting aside a set number of seats for them. The voter turnout was at an outstanding 75%, as compared to 65% in Canada’s recent federal election. There is certainly no doubt that Hamas is the choice of the people, regardless of my dismay. So, what now? As a result the US, other Western nations and Israel have cut off the Palestinian people from much needed aid.

I am perplexed by the complexity of this issue. How can we as Western nations, the foundation of modern democracy, disregard and diminish the obvious choce of the people in a country whose electoral structure and process are perhaps more sound than our own? Forget disregarding, what about withdrawing aid to innocent civillians dwelling in a never-ending war zone? Who are we, as a Western society, to inflict our judgmental views on other and to penalize innocent bystandards in the war of terrorism?

These are large and profound questions and in no way am I stating that I approve of the Hamas party. In fact, it is their government that truly make me fear for the likely inability for the development of peace in the region. However, the fundmental principles of democracy are at stake here if we deny the Palestinian people their elected representatives.


~ by amytalk on March 24, 2006.

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