For de mellemøsten-interesserede er her et lille foredrag af Bernard Lewis, hvor han kommer ind på spørgsmålet om, hvorvidt demokrati kan udvikles i regionen.
Det er et tankevækkende stykke og dejligt kort. Jeg er ikke historiker, men Lewis omtaler den afghanske modsstandsbevægelse i 1980erne som talebanere, hvilket vist først var et nyere fænomen. Men det er en detalje. Hans lille hip om det franske demokratis udvikling siden 1789 ("And I'm not sure that they've got it right yet"), kan minde os om, at demokrati kan antage mange former.
Her er en smagsprøve hentet et lille stykke inde:
What is the possibility of freedom in the Islamic world, in the Western sense of the word? If you look at the current literature, you will find two views common in the United States and Europe. One of them holds that Islamic peoples are incapable of decent, civilized government. Whatever the West does, Muslims will be ruled by corrupt tyrants. Therefore the aim of our foreign policy should be to insure that they are our tyrants rather than someone else's–friendly rather than hostile tyrants. This point of view is very much favored in departments of state and foreign offices and is generally known, rather surprisingly, as the "pro-Arab" view. It is, of course, in no sense pro-Arab. It shows ignorance of the Arab past, contempt for the Arab present, and unconcern for the Arab future. The second common view is that Arab ways are different from our ways. They must be allowed to develop in accordance with their cultural principles, but it is possible for them–as for anyone else, anywhere in the world, with discreet help from outside and most specifically from the United States–to develop democratic institutions of a kind. This view is known as the "imperialist" view and has been vigorously denounced and condemned as such.
Her er et link til hele foredraget.