Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Heretic & the Cause!

I never really had high expectations for the American venture in Iraq, because I have always known that the challenges of modernization and democratization are too enormous to be handled in such manner. Indeed, I do not believe in quick fixes and shortcuts when it comes to such major social transformations. There is no way around the mountain (or the abyss) for us in order to get to the other side, albeit it’s quite understandable that we should hope and pray for one. For the alternative is to do what others have done: go through hell in order to get what we want, what we think we deserve and are entitled to.

But then, some experiences cannot be had for free or on the cheap. All civilized peoples have had to pay dearly for their freedom and their democracy, and so will we. Democracy is not a cure-all, still we need it. It is not cheap, still, we have to get it even if we had to pay with our own blood for it, as we probably will, as we indeed are.

The debate over democracy might be over in some camps, true, but it hasn't yet really begun in the main ones – our streets, our minds, our psyches, our deeper recesses. So don’t count democracy out so soon. Just don’t expect us to get fucked, get pregnant then give birth all in the span of a solitary month!

The US adventure in Iraq and the region has clearly showed us that dictators are mere manifestations of our real problems, that our sectarianism is intrinsic and deadly, that bottom feeders are numerous and murderous and that our social and state structures are all too fragile. Yet, for all this, we need to change. If anything US failure underscores our deep and intrinsic need for change.

So, and while some insist on seeing in the US failure in Iraq (and the region) an ultimate failure for the cause of change and democratization in the region, I see it as the end of an unfortunate distraction and of a unique, though perhaps unnecessary, learning opportunity (at least for those of us who invested themselves in it even while knowing that it cannot possibly succeed). Now we can go back to the real business at hand, the business that only we can and should conduct. If the US, whether under a Democratic or Republican administration, wants to remain relevant to this business, it can always support us. This is what we have wanted all along anyway, the US support of the cause, not its hijacking of it.