Let us face facts: the powers-that-be couldn’t care a whit about democracy. If they did they would first address its total absence among some of their closest allies, especially in the same Middle Eastern region.
They wouldn’t also have overthrown so many nationalists but entirely democratically elected governments in different parts of the globe (think of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, Jacobo Arbenz in Guetamala, Salvador Allende in Chile, etc., etc., ad infinitum).
What becomes clear from a close review of the actions of the dominant Western countries vis-a-vis non-Western ones is that what really matters above all else is the readiness of a country’s leadership to be pliant and to take orders on critical issues even if those leaders may consider them contrary to the country’s own fundamental interests.
In this dystopian reality, Democracy (with a capital D) is merely a word that can be made to be what the dominant powers wish, and its meaning can be made and is frequently made to vary in accordance with the prevailing whims of those powers.
Humpty Dumpty had it absolutely right in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass when he tells Alice that words can mean whatever you want them to mean; nothing more, nothing less, and that the question is who is really to be master.
In contemporary times no other word has, perhaps, proved this Carrollian precept better than “Democracy”.
Mwene Kalinda, Kigali, Rwanda
Reaction to Joseph Rwagatare’s opinion, “Arab Spring scorched in the desert summer?”, (The New Times, July 9)
Who defines Democracy?