The famed Israeli columnist, Gideon Levy, wrote in daily Ha’aretz under title Half a democracy, challenging the long-standing western myth of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’.
“What sort of democracy is this, if exactly half the state’s residents don’t benefit from it? Indeed, can the term “democratic” be applied to a state in which many of the residents live under a military regime or are deprived of civil rights? Can there be democracy without equality, with a lengthy occupation and with foreign workers who have no rights? And what about the racism?,” wrote Gideon.
“On the day after tomorrow, when tanks guard the voters in Yitzhar and other West Bank settlements, when curfew protects the election process in the Jewish settlement in Hebron, when thousands of soldiers will defend the roads on which the polling stations will be transported and when foreign workers with no rights will sweep our streets, we should remember that this is half a democracy, no more,” Gideon concluded.
Commenting on Gideon Levi’s article – Charles Glass, the ABC News journalist, took Gideon’s “half democracy” for women population in Muslim countries to vent his venom against Muslims. In an article entitled ‘Women and Democracy in the Middle East’ – he wrote: “The people of Iran, Libya, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, and Algeria are demanding democracy, even if some of them mean a half-democracy that denies full rights and equality to women”.
May be the bigot doesn’t know that women in Turkey and Egypt had the rights to vote long before the women got that privilege in the US (in 1920), Britain (in 1928), Canada (in 1929), Quebec (in 1940), China (in 1949) and Greece (in 1952). Until 1930s, a Canadian woman was considered property of her male family members.
Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Iran have elected women as President, Vice-president and Prime Ministers – something which the US, France, China and Russia still has to match with.
If by ‘equal right’ Charles Glass means women running half-naked in bikinis instead of being covered under burka – then I suggest he should read the views of a Jewish Canadian academic, Henry Makow PhD, who wrote: “The role of woman is at the heart of any culture. Apart from stealing Arab oil, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about stripping Muslims of their religion and culture, exchanging the burka for a bikini. The Muslim woman’s focus is her home, the “nest” where her children are born and reared. She is the “home” maker, the taproot that sustains the spiritual life of the family, nurturing and training her children, providing refuge and support to her husband. In contrast, the bikinied American beauty queen struts practically naked in front of millions on TV. A feminist, she belongs to herself. In practice, paradoxically, she is public property. She belongs to no one and everyone. She shops her body to the highest bidder. She is auctioning herself all of the time”.
A surprised Charles Glass wrote: “One of the most encouraging features of the demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was the full participation of women”. I suggest he watch BBC’s coverage of Iranian protests against USraeli puppet King Reza Shah. Women covered with hijjab and burka made the majority of one million protesters in Tehran in 1979.