Monday, 25 June 2007


These last years the efforts to preach and spread democracy worldwide has remarkably increased. I cannot help thinking this to be as futile as my vain attempts to make our cat stand up and walk on two legs.

Nowadays, elections are being held in Iraq, in Afghanistan as well as in some other cutthroat countries in Africa, sponsored by the US and the European Union. Wherever these elections are being carried out we are being told here by our faithful media that a great step has been made towards peace and prosperity for everybody.

Ten deaths or less during procedures are considered splendid, kind of collateral damage, not to be fussed about. Same for some little vote rigging here or there or some trouble with the counting.

However, afterwards, business as usual: real changes are being made with the help of the knife, explosives, kidnapping. Anything is possible, but certainly not the idea that by presenting the last voting bulletin you can convince the present head of state or little warlord plus his family, clan or tribe to resign from his lucrative job.

Here in the West, we have had democracy in its primitive form for hundreds of years. The English Magna Carta goes back to the 13th Century and in Germany and the Netherlands the bigger towns - kind of citizen states - had an elected town council who governed.

And furthermore, in all these cities and regions as well as even in many absolute monarchies in Europe there was something like the rule of law. Not perfect, far from it, but there was a written law and it evolved slowly according to the needs.

Maybe not everybody knows this famous story of Frederic II from Prussia - an absolute monarch - who wanted to extend his castle ground by purchasing a nearby mill. Well, he never succeeded, the miller stubbornly didn't want to sell. Finally, after years of judiciary actions Frederic gave in.

All this means that countries like Afghanistan, Iraq or The Congo have no use for western democracy, they simply don't have the background. This non-violent way of government must come by the people there and certainly not from outside. Thus it may well need centuries or might never happen, God knows.

Meanwhile, let's better leave those countries alone to their own devices. At best, those who have the power outside, should sponsor a benevolent homegrown dictator who busies himself with building schools and roads and an efficient health system. That's the very best we all can hope for.


Saturday, 9 June 2007


The painting is from Francisco Goya: Saturn devours his children

His name was Ali, he was living somewhere in Baghdad. One day, not so long ago, he was found dead, throat slit, hands bound with wire behind his back. He had the bad idea to live as a Shia Muslim in a Sunni Muslim Area.

I do not know if "Love your neighbor" is especially requested and required in Islam. But the contrary is certainly not.

But such gruesome killings happen elsewhere, too. In Northern Ireland, the Catholics and the Protestants have killed each other for centuries.

When the 30 Years' War - Protestants against Catholics on the menu - ended in 1648 in Germany, two thirds of the entire population were dead.

The list of mass killings, wars, violence based on religion is endless. One might even say that religious differences are one of its the main reasons .

On the other hand, when you talk person to person to active Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs over here, they all seem to be decent, tolerant people. Full of understanding, no violence, no fanaticism, no Sir.

So what?

If I look at all those appalling events: killings and violence of all kind that go on and on, now and in the past, carried out in the name of religion, I cannot help thinking that this has two main reasons: pretension to exclusivity and lust for power.

With exclusivity I mean the fact that today's big religions have only one God who asks for exclusivity. "I am a jealous God" says Jehovah, the God of the Jews and the Christians in the Bible. And Allah, as the same God is called by the Muslims, does not compel the faithful to be tolerant, either. And thus, all other Gods of other people are considered wrong and should thus disappear, weeded out, and pronto!

Now add to this idea of exclusivity a big army and a good array of weapons and the next calamity is being programmed. You just need some enterprising politician (or a little warlord, or a king or any head of state) who sees the huge potential to do his bidding in the name of God.

Has anyone on the World Wide Web an idea how to get out of this situation? To make our little blue planet a little bit more comfortable and less risky.