you can’t handle democracy

i’ve intentionally avoided saying anything about the danish cartoons, largely because i’ve found the debate around them fairly lacking, but then i read this:

it may be safer, in trying to explain why a free press is so important – and a press that is free to give offence – not to fall back on the word ‘democracy’. Many people who think like the demonstrators, and millions who don’t, remember the Islamic Salvation Front being denied their victory at the polls in Algeria in 1991 (it was the wrong result); they see all the tut-tutting about the recent Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections (wrong result); they watch as the murderous gift of democracy is bestowed on Iraq. In these contexts, you would be likely to approach democracy in the way a scientist examines a dangerous virus or a villager circles the wreck of a downed aircraft. [here]

the hypocrisy of those who proclaim ‘the west’ to be wiser and more experienced with democratic values is increasingly irksome, particularly when it exposes such thinly veiled racism. and being completely ignorant of any context these protests occur within doesn’t make the situation any better.

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