Friday, April 29, 2011

Theory and Data

Even sociologists tend to put theory before data (and not just economists and imperialists).

In the sociology of religion, European and British sociologists have maintained that, just as Europe became secular over the centuries, modernity in the rest of the world would lead to a similar demise of religion.

Thus, according to Steve Bruce, secularization is an integral process in a liberal democracy: given religious choice, people will lose faith and turn away from religion.

Yet America has been a democracy for two hundred fifty years, and it is still a vigorously religious place. It seems that Bruce et al just don't want to acknowledge facts.

"Towards the end of the twentieth century, however, a step change occurred in the debate," observes Grace Davie in her book 'The Sociology of Religion'. Until the early 1990s, the links between modernization and secularization were still generally assumed." However, looking at America "Europe begins to emerge as the exceptional case".

Sociologists like Peter Berger began to renounce the secularization thesis. "My point that the assumption that we live in a secularised world is false," notes Berger. "Although the term 'secularisation theory' refers to work from the 1950s and 1960s, the key idea of the theory can indeed be traced to the Enlightenment. The idea is simple: Modernization necessarily leads to a decline of religion, both in society and in the minds of individuals. And it is precisely this key idea that turned out to be wrong."

In fact, the wellsprings of the sociology of religion are themselves poisoned. The founding fathers of sociology, from Marx to Weber, were convinced of the inevitable redundancy of religion. Subsequent researchers have simply mimicked them.

Interestingly, in the 2001 British Census, when religious identity was first included in the survey, it was found that, against expectations, it was not the inhabitants of the industrialized North who revealed themselves to be non-traditional; those with 'no religion' were concentrated in the cities in the South, largely in the university towns, among the faculty and the employees.

At this point the subjects becomes terribly relevant to Bangladesh and the Muslim world. Bangladesh was founded on the principle of 'secularism', a principle that was shot down by successive military governments. Recently, there has been an attempt to sideline Islam and resurrect the corpse of secularism by the ruling political party (whose leader is the daughter of the pater patrie) and the intelligentsia.

These dinosaurs hark back to the earlier views on modernity and secularism: indeed many, if not most, were trained in universities here and in Europe, in the doctrines of the founding fathers.

Let us hope they go the way of those earlier beasts.

democracy, religion and violence

Holy places: Unholy rows | The Economist: "For all the rhetoric of ancient hatred, religious rows have grown worse in modern times. Across the Ottoman empire, from the Balkans to Anatolia to Palestine, Christians and Muslims mingled peaceably at shared sacred places.

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In Bangladesh, Muslims and Hindus lived peaceably until the election of 2001. The Hindus tend to vote for the Awami League, as Muslims in India tend to vote for the Congress Party. In 2001, the League lost, and a coalition of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and an Islamist Party won.

Immediately, an anti-Hindu pogrom swept the land: there was arson, looting, raping...the nation was stunned.

Clearly, religion had nothing to do with it: it was politicians stirring up hatred, and, of course, greed for the spoils of victory, which seems to include women.

Interestingly, the parties went on to persecute a heretical Muslim sect, the Aḥmadīyahs, with almost equal ferocity. Again, secular observers blamed it on religion.

Not so.

Consider the following extract from the Britanica:

"In their theology, the Ismāʿīlīs have absorbed the most extreme elements and heterodox ideas. The universe is viewed as a cyclic process, and the unfolding of each cycle is marked by the advent of seven “speakers”—messengers of God with Scriptures—each of whom is succeeded by seven “silents”—messengers without revealed scriptures; the last speaker (the Prophet Muḥammad) is followed by seven imāms who interpret the Will of God to man and are, in a sense, higher than the Prophet because they draw their knowledge directly from God and not from the Angel of Revelation. During the 10th century, certain Ismāʿīlī intellectuals formed a secret society called the Brethren of Purity, which issued a philosophical encyclopaedia, The Epistles of the Brethren of Purity, aiming at the liquidation of positive religions in favour of a universalist spirituality.

The late Aga Khan III (1887–1957) had taken several measures to bring his followers closer to the main body of the Muslims. The Ismāʿīlīs, however, still have not mosques but jamāʿat khānahs (“gathering houses”), and their mode of worship bears little resemblance to that of the Muslims generally."

You can't get more heretical than this! Yet the Aga Khanis - as the Ismailis are known in Bangladesh - are some of the richest people here. Their location is highly conspicuous (many live in flats near Bailey Road, Dhaka across from one of the best schools in Dhaka) and their mode of worship is strikingly different. They have a jamaat khanah, where they gather every evening, and regular Muslims are not allowed in there. Naturally, weird stories proliferate about the goings-on in the jamaat khanah. When I set up a poultry farm, some of my best customers were Aga Khanis: they are extremely rich, as I said.

Their influence is international.

When General Ershad arrested Aziz Mohammed Bhai, probably the richest Aga Khani in Bangladesh, Prince Aga Khan himself came down to secure his release.

All this influence and wealth explain why the pogrom never extended to these people: it wasn't a religious pogrom at all.

The fuse was democracy, and the politicians vented their anger on the weakest members of society: as happens in India during anti-Muslim pogroms.

The spread of democracy throughout the world will bring disaster for religious minorities: in Egypt, Christians are already worried - as they well should be.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Human Rights Watch and Modernity

Reform in Saudi Arabia: At a snail's pace | The Economist: "A recent report on political reform in Saudi Arabia by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based lobby group, argues that although gradual changes are welcome, unless they are properly institutionalised the kingdom risks sliding backwards again, as it has done many times before. “Newly gained freedoms are, for the most part, neither extensive nor firmly grounded,” the report concludes. “The limited reform that has taken place suggests the elite is still floating trial balloons, undecided about the type of government and society it wants to steer towards.”

On some specific human-rights issues, the report praises the kingdom’s progress: reform of the justice system, women’s rights and freedom of expression. Yet it notes with concern that, whereas legal reform is one of the areas where changes are under way, new courts have yet to materialise, and new, transparent procedures have yet to be put into practice. Greater freedom of speech is not codified, and so remains subject to arbitrary intervention by the state. Earlier this year, a newspaper editor made the mistake of printing a blunt critique of puritan religious beliefs, and was summarily fired. As for women’s rights, an official loosening of the ban against the mixing of the sexes in public places has not been widely implemented. The same goes for an ostensible liberalisation of rules that require women to have a male “guardian”. Women are still forbidden to drive.

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What business is it of Human Rights Watch to try to change Saudi Arabia's culture?

These westerners want all cultures to be the same - a universal monoculture. Western culture, of course. After all, there is only one legitimate civilisation in the world, Western civilisation. All other civilisations and cultures fail to measure up to this ideal.

Anthropologists and sociologists may foam at the mouth trying to explain that cultures are different, the product of their history and environment, but imperialists like Human Rights Watch will turn a deaf ear. If a woman does not drive, she is not a modern woman.

Thus Grace Davie, in her book 'Sociology of Religion, has pointed out that: "Once again, it is the application of the concept [of modernity] elsewhere that causes the difficulty - a way of working that leads quickly to the conclusion that any society or group of societies that does not conform to the patterns of Western modernity is in some sense less than modern (my italics)." Thus, she, and other sociologists, are more comfortable with the notion of 'modernities', rather than 'modernity'.

But reason is powerless against imperialists: they have to be beaten back with weapons of destruction. If your way of life is threatened, you have to fight back.

Democracy and Intolerance

EGYPT: Muslims protest Coptic Christian governor in Qena | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times: "Thousands of mostly Muslim protesters swelled through the streets of the Egyptian city of Qena on Friday to demonstrate against the recent appointment of a new Coptic Christian governor.

Crowds gathered Immediately after prayers outside the city’s mosques, chanting against Gov. Emad Mikhael and Prime Minister Essam Sharaf: “Oh Sharaf, say the truth … you’re being unfair to us or not?” and “Oh freedom where are you ... Mikhael is standing between us and you.”

Mikhael, a police general who served under former President Hosni Mubarak, is the only Copt among 18 new governors named by Sharaf on April 14. The decision was met by anger and exasperation from the city’s Islamic extremists and ultra-conservative Salafi groups.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Democracy will bring out the worst in any people - Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.

The people of the Middle East should learn from the (brief) democratic experience of the world. The democracies unleashed two major wars in the previous century. The first has been described as the "most democratic war in history" by historian J.M.Roberts.

The question of whether democracy promotes violence is an old one and goes back to Thucydides (his answer was 'Yes'). Two thousand years later, Thomas Hobbes translated Thucydides to reveal the horrors of democracy.

The free world in history stands in sharp contrast to the subjugation of the rest of the world by it over 500 violent years. Where there was parliament, there was violence inflicted mostly on foreigners.

China could have conquered the world, and started out to do so, but then stopped. The Portuguese took up where they left off.

In Bangladesh, lynching - absolutely unknown during dictatorship - has become so commonplace, nobody even notices. In 2007, the country nearly experienced civil war between the two political parties, and the west had to call in the army to restore sanity.

We must remember that it's a western idea - democracy - that's causing all the mayhem.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oriana Fellatio

Oriana Fellatio, better known perhaps as Oriana Fallaci, was an Italian journalist who made a second career out of loudly hating Muslims.

"The increased presence of Muslims in Italy and in Europe is directly proportional to our loss of freedom."

That's one of her milder diatribes.

It is surprising that Ms. Fellatio found the events of 9/11 so outrageous: only 3,000 Americans had been killed. And that was promptly made up for by killing an equal number of civilians in Afghanistan.

There's one thing people like her can't stand: it's the fact that, for the very first time, the South had struck a blow in the heart of the North.

People like Ms. Fellatio though it was only the North's privilege to murder people in the South. For 500 years, the North did just that: crime after crime was visited on the hapless South. Did they think it could go on forever?

It was Nemesis at work on 9/11, and what pathetic nemesis at that, too. Whereas the North kills people by the millions - in seven digits - the South could kill only in four digits. That's pathetic.

But you have to look at the competition. The South (meaning the Muslim world in this case) has amateurs at work, whereas the North has expert bureaucracies and professional spy networks attacking the Muslim jihadis. Yet what a wonderful job Muslims have done in Afghanistan - they have brought the combined military might of the North to its knees. Who cannot but admire these people?

"The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture-it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization."

Muslims do not try to impose their culture on anyone. They don't tell French women not to strip half- or even fully naked on the beaches. And Ms. Fellatio could perform as many as she liked. Muslims have their own culture, just as other civilisations do. No, she was projecting her culture's hegemonic tendencies on to Muslim civilisation.

And what kind of civilisation did Ms. Fellatio have? As stated, a murderous, genocidal monstrosity.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Killing Muslims

Killing Muslims - in Lybia or Somalia - is popular with the American or European public back home. It is good for electoral prospects, a democratic sport. And we in the Muslim world who espouse democracy endorse the practice because it is carried on by 'democratic' countries. We have become monsters to our own brothers and sisters.

Have we no conscience? Have we sold it for a few dollars? For a little appreciation? What happened to our 1,400-year-old civilisation? How can we admire nations that kill Muslims? For surely, then, we are fratricides and sororicides!

Democracy and Faith

Would you mind terribly if an artist in your country drew humorous cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)? Or if a writer made fun of him in a novel? or if an artist painted verses from the Qur'an on to a naked female body?

All these things have been done, and Muslims have reacted with swift outrage, sometimes murder (Theo van Gogh, who filmed a naked women with verses from the Qur'an was murdered and beheaded by a Muslim jihadi).

For these are freedoms of expression - a central tenet of democracy. According to democrats, freedom of expression includes the freedom to shock and offend.

Yet Muslim men and women espouse democracy as if it won't hurt the religion - or the sentiment of 1 billion Muslims. In our country (Bangladesh), we have traitors who would love to make fun of the Prophet and Islam. That is one reason they love democracy.

Yet I know a devout Muslim woman who loves democracy - she doesn't realise, the idiot that she is, that democracy means freedom of expression - freedom to make fun of Islam and everything we consider sacred and holy. She is a misguided fool, who wants to appear an 'intellectual'.

Fundamentalists can take an idea to its logical conclusion - unlike the foolish woman mentioned above. They realise that in a democracy, everything will be permitted - from blasphemy to burning holy books (heaven forbid!).

The second khutbah of the Friday prayers forbid us to criticise our rulers - democracy means criticism of rulers. Surely, democracy was forbidden by our ancestors!

Curse democracy as you would curse the plague or snakes - for it pits brother against brothers, and leaves nothing sacred. Let democracy be preached only by the enemies of Islam and Muslim civilisation. They are friends of the Great Satan.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Last Virus

The first western virus to penetrate the Muslim world was nationalism Imagine! Seven hundred years of Ottoman civilisation was permeated by nationalism. Where once, different nationals coexisted cheek by jowl under one government - the Sultan's - now Turkish nationalism reared its ugly head. Today, we have Muslims fighting Muslims, Turks fighting Kurds....What could be sadder?

Then came the second virus, Marxism. Leaders like Nasser ousted their kings and proclaimed Arab nationalism....This didn't work. They married nationalism with another western ideology, Marxism, and even that didn't work. The Arab-Israeli war of 1967 discredited both ideologies, paving the road for Islamic fundamentalism.

Today, the third virus has been taken up by the Arabs: the virus of democracy. How will this end? No doubt in some terrible upheaval.

Why does the Muslim world have to borrow from the west? We have our own political philosophy: the zel Allah, the shadow of Allah. The ruler is the shadow of Allah, but, thanks to western ideology, we demand democracy. That is not our heritage. The khutbah of the mosque prayer prohibits us from criticizing our rulers. How dare we do that?

Surely the Middle East is destined to has sold out to the west, the Great Satan. In a year's time, we shall see chaos in the Maghreb, for these people have disobeyed.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Democracy and Violence

I remember the electoral fight between my uncle, Major General (retd.) M. Khalilur Rahman and the president's man in their constituency of Jamalpur.

The general was winning, when suddenly the counting was stopped on state television. When it was resumed, we found that the general was losing. General Ershad, the president, had rigged the polls.

And what a wonderful thing that was: it meant that my uncle, no matter what he did, could not win. That meant that even if he had employed thugs he would still have lost. So, naturally, neither side employed thugs. This was the benign aspect of 'democracy' under dictatorship: the absence of goons.

When Ershad fell from power, of course, thugs and murderers and rapists became the norm. Without these criminals, you couldn't win an election.

This is what 'free and fair' have meant for Bangladesh: rule by criminals.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Of love and happiness

" who might have tower'd in the van
Of all the congregated world, to fan
And winnow from the coming steps of time
All chaff of custom, wipe away all slime
Left by men-slugs and human serpentry
Have been content to let occasion die
While they did sleep in love's Elysium."

I quote these words of Keats from memory.

But how true these words are! The lover is an unambitious person because he is a happy person. And happy people don't try to change the world. At most, they might fling a few arrows into the marketplace, and then idle around the beloved.

Thus, the 'movers and shakers' of the world are necessarily not lovers and not happy people. All that the beloved and the lover seek are peace, not tumult.

Perhaps I, too, might have gone into the fray but for the influence of love. Hence, my ardent desire for peace...May we all be at peace. Let lovers unite and marry and live happily ever after.

That is why western ideologies in my country - introduced by ambitious men and women with no love in their lives - disturb my peace because there's no peace in my motherland.

I would try and change it all were it not for the fact of my happiness. Happiness, after all, is the supreme good, and once somebody has achieved it, there's no persuading him to choose any other path.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Muslim Amnesia

"When the streets of Damascus were lined with lamps, London was a village."

- Peter O' Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

I was chatting with a devout Turkish girl. She had resisted her family since the age of eighteen, and worn a headscarf. I thought she must truly be a Muslim. I was wrong.

We got on the subject of dictators, as the Arabs were trying to topple them. She asked me if I liked dictators. I said I loved them. She did a double take. She couldn't believe how I could love dictators. Incidentally, she said that probably I knew more about her ancestors than she did.

It seems that was correct.

I know that under the Sultans, Muslim civilisation made room for diverse religions and created one of the long-lasting civilizations of the world.

And all this was achieved under dictators, autocrats, despots....

The tragic thing about Muslims is their loss of memory. They have lost all sense of time. They don't realise that 1,400 years of Muslim history - a glorious, benign and noble history - have passed. They are either fundamentalists, or 'modern' Muslims like the Turkish girl. The latter group look to Europe and America for inspiration.

When I said that she was hopelessly westernised, she reacted quickly. "Hey," she said, "I am not westernised." Yet, unbeknownst to her, she was.

Why are Muslims so servile?

The encounter with the west has so knocked the stuffing out of us that we have lost all self-respect. We have become thoroughly defensive. We have forgotten that Hazrat Uthman liberated thousands of slaves, and that the west was based on slavery. Ours, and the Chinese civilization, were benign. In this, lies our greatness.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Peace Corps Rape Victim Jess Smochek Honored By Congress - ABC News

Peace Corps Rape Victim Jess Smochek Honored By Congress - ABC News: "Smochek was attacked while serving as a volunteer in Bangladesh in 2004. She says that a group of men began to stalk her from the very first day she arrived in the city where she was assigned. The men tried to kiss her and touch her, and ultimately gang raped her.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Jess Smochek had repeatedly reported that she felt threatened, but the Peace Corps didn't relocate her.

Bangladesh used to be a very safe country. I remember when my cousin's American girlfriend came over in the '80s, she was comparing Dhaka with cities in Latin America. She said that she would never think of going out casually in those cities, whereas she felt perfectly safe in Dhaka.

This was before our, and after Latin America's, democratic transition.

Violence was very low in Latin America under military rule; when we reverted to democracy, rapes rose from 250 in the '80s to over 900 in 1992, and soon reached four digits. I'll never understand why the Peace Corps didn't relocate Smochek. They must have known that Bangladesh was a dangerous country. Adding insult to injury, during counseling she was made to write out all the things she had done to create the rape situation - meaning, it was her fault.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Corrupting the Youth of the Middle East Program Detail: "A new generation of young Egyptian citizens is dedicated to expanding political and civil rights in their country. Referred to as the 'YouTube Generation,' many of these courageous men and women are supported by Freedom House to enhance their outreach, advocacy and effectiveness. The New Generation project helps to reinforce the values of free expression, human rights, women's rights, and rule of law.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

In a previous blog, I described how software has been used to spread the idea of democracy. Freedom House (financed mostly by the US government) has been training and indoctrinating young Egyptians. It would seem safe to assume that the germ of democracy around the Middle East has been cleverly spread by the US government, and was not a sudden expression of 'people power'. However, my theory was the 'mad crowd' theory, so beloved of Gustave Le Bon. The method-in-madness hypothesis has been well-argued by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulirich, a close watcher of the Middle East (she herself is Iranian).

The two hypotheses may not be contradictory. After priming the pump for democracy, Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and others must have been pleasantly surprised to give 'crowd control' a whole new meaning.

Socrates was tried for corrupting the youth of Athens. Freedom House, et al, have been corrupting the youth of the world in general, and those of the Middle East in particular. Their corruption will no doubt pay off when these kids start realising the value of money. Until then, it must be people like El Baradei who will need to be bought.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Question Of Inheritance

New Age | Newspaper: "A skirmish between Islamic Law Implementation Committee activists and law-enforcers left one man killed and at least 30 people injured in Jessore on Sunday.

The clash erupted when the police intercepted a procession brought out by the Islamic bigots to drum up support for today’s countrywide general strike called by the ILIC in protest against the Women Development Policy 2011 that they claim to contain anti-Islamic provisions ensuring a spectrum of women’s rights.

The deceased was identified as Hafiz Hossain Ahmed, a student at Madaninagar Hafezia Madrassah and son of Ismail Ahmed of Chakla under Monirampur upazila of Jessore.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Notice the language of the New Age: the protesting mullahs are 'bigots' and 'zealots'. Is this reportage? Naturally, such language diminishes the death of the young student, who was nothing but a 'bigot' and a 'zealot'.

I sympathise with Anjuman-e-Hefajat-e-Islam (Society for the Protection of Islam), though I deplore their method: instead of a hartal, they could have resorted to peaceful protest.

These people are struggling against 'desacralisation', though they would not use the term. Islamic law has, since the encounter with the west, been whittled down to Muslim Family Law: the clerics are struggling against even this remnant being whittled away. For the government, NGOs and western donors want to repeal the Muslim law of inheritance and give equal inheritance rights to women. The mullahs have nothing against women: women are the safest in the Muslim world, thanks to Islam.

In a brilliant letter to the editor in the now-defunct Bangladesh Observer (no other newspaper would have printed it, certainly not the New Age or the Daily Star), a writer argued thus: "...whenever questions of inheritance comes it seems that a hundred per cent of the people take for granted that each and every parent leaves behind a (sic) huge property and their heirs are just to distribute them and enjoy. In fact, this is a misconception. Many a father leaves behind huge debts. Who pays back the debts? Usually in our society not a single girl is asked to pay the debt of her father (Md. Shah Jahan, Letter, 4 April 2008). "

When a father passes away, and his janaza is held at the mosque, it is the son who tells the congregation that if his father had any debts, the debtor should come to him. Daughters never do this. Culture, religion and law are perfectly aligned here.

The above writer foresees "doomsday" for women if they are also expected equally to inherit assets as well as liabilities. It is only the propertied elite that leave behind property.

"It is the microscopic wealthy section of society, which may claim for equal right of inheritance for boys and girls but the majority of girls will not prefer to pay debts of their parents. They are far greater in number and their voice is not heard." True.

Equality is a western obsession born of the experience of freedom, a preoccupation unknown in the rest of humanity.

More generally, people who hate Islamic law are quite happy to live and work in the UAE, for instance, protected by the sharia and the monarchy. My uncle lived in Abu Dhabi for years, made a packet and moved to Canada, from where he looks down on 'autocracy'. It seems that people like to go where the money is: mullahs can offer very little cash unlike NGOs and western donors.

I hope for the best for the Anjuman-e-Hefajat-e-Islam.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Democracy in the Middle East: Did the US do it?

Mining social networks: Untangling the social web | The Economist: "Once these societal networks of influence can be accurately mapped, they can be used to promote the spread of particular ideas—those that support stability and democracy, for example. Last year America’s army, which jointly funds SOMA with the air force, began disbursing about $80m in five-year research grants for network analysis to promote democracy and national security. An authoritarian government, for instance, may have difficulties slowing the spread of a new idea in a certain medium—say, internet chatter about a book that explains how corruption undermines job creation. Diplomatic services can use this information to help ideas spread. Brian Uzzi of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who advises intelligence agencies on democracy-promotion analytics, says diplomatic services are mapping the “tipping point” when ideas go mainstream in spite of government repression.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Did the US military start off the revolutions in the Middle East?

It seems that there is software that can spread an idea like a virus. Of courses, the US Congress claims to have been on the back foot, but the military and the secret services could have been working with the president and his staff to spread democracy in the Middle East. The reason? How to replace ageing autocrats.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the question of succession was acute as both countries' rulers were long in the tooth. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was known to be terminally ill nearly a year ago. But who would succeed him? Besides, these rulers had no popular mandate, and that was stymying efforts to block the peace process, with Israel looking increasingly bad.

A democratic mandate for Israel from surrounding countries was thereby needed: hence the bottom-up democratic transitions.

But the question arises: won't a democracy be harder to control? The answer is, No.

Look at Bangladesh: a democratic Muslim country of 150 million is a docile poodle of the United States. That's because the article points to another influence on public opinion: the 'influencers'.

These are people who direct social thinking: advertisers have long known that people follow certain role-models: hence the promotion of watches and shoes by popular stars. The same thing is at work when selling an idea. If a sufficient number of influencers can be corrupted by America into praising democracy and keeping mum about Israel, then the rest of the population will follow. In Bangladesh, two such influencers are Dr. Mozaffer Ahmed (PhD from University of Chicago) and Dr. Kamal Hossain (PhD from the University of Notre Dame). There are countless other PhDs - who are a dime a dozen in Bangladesh - from western universities who have been co-opted by the west, particularly America.

El-Baradei, et al, will no doubt serve a similar purpose in Egypt.

People underestimate how easy it is to corrupt a democracy. As a Greek dramatist observed:

"...Our wise
Democratic allies
Are ruled by our state democratic."