Chilcot Report and the delusions of Western democracy

There are no liberal democracies anywhere in the world except in the imaginative geography that calls itself the West.

    Former British Prime Minister Tony  Blair [REUTERS]
    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair [REUTERS]

    Who elected Tony Blair as the prime minister of the United Kingdom for more than a decade (1997-2007)?  Did Iraqis vote for him - anyone in the Arab or Muslim world? 

    Which UK political party did he represent: the retrograde Conservative or the progressive Labour - in fact as the leader of the Labour Party between 1994 and 2007? 

    How many votes did he receive as the leader of the Labour Party? How many blue-blooded British and UK citizens freely and fairly voted for Tony Blair during the election? With major victories in 1997, 2001, and 2005, Tony Blair was the longest-serving UK prime minister from the Labour Party, leading his party to three consecutive general election victories.

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    Was any Iraqi man or woman among those who so enthusiastically voted for him in such historic victories in the finest specimen of "Western liberal democracy" for the very "mother of parliaments"?

    Prime minister or strongman?

    Now, when this very democratically elected UK prime minister cheated, lied, fabricated false evidence, engaged in massive propaganda, went on a rampage about "terrorism" in order to join the United States to invade Iraq, was he the military strongman of a Third World dictatorship or was he in fact the democratically elected prime minister of a Western liberal democracy?    

    One more question: They say that in these Western democracies, the free press is a pillar of their democracy. Fair enough.

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    Did this free press perform their critical task in the course of preparatory stage of the US-UK led invasion of Iraq?

    If Islam is to be held accountable for a small gang of Muslim criminals whom no one elected as their representative, then why should Western liberal democracies not be held accountable for mass murderers like Tony Blair and George W Bush...?


    Did this free press in either the US or the UK engage in investigative journalism to expose the lies of their elected officials or did they beat the drum of war and become an effective propaganda tool for the Bush-Blair war on Iraq?

    Democratically elected war criminal

    With the Chilcot Report finally out, we now know for a fact that Blair is a war criminal, that this man - as the prime minister of a Western democracy - is the cause of more murder and mayhem in the world than the entire gang of subterranean creatures called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and all other militant groups put together.

    Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children, innocent of any crime against anyone were murdered and Tony Blair is one among a handful of democratically elected officials in Western liberal democracies who is chiefly responsible for their murder. 

    He and his ringmaster, US President George W Bush, yet another two-term democratically elected specimen of Western democracy and his own constitutionally appointed officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are all war criminals and must be tried for that and perhaps even for crimes against humanity. 

    The Chilcot Report has now detailed the misbegotten path to the US-UK led invasion and occupation of Iraq predicated on barefaced lies and propaganda dismantling a sovereign nation-state and wreaking havoc on the Arab and Muslim world.

    Protesters dressed as Tony Blair and former George W Bush demonstrate as they wait for the release of the Chilcot Inquiry in London [EPA]

    In short: "Western liberal democracies", as they call and congratulate themselves, spell out disaster for the world at large. 

    Some 1.6 billion Muslims are held accountable for the criminal gang of ISIL and their likes by Islamophobic bigots ranging from widely popular bigot Bill Maher to mass murderer Anders Breivik.

    Did any one of these Muslims vote for ISIL or al-Qaeda to be their democratically elected officials?

    If Islam is to be held accountable for a small gang of Muslim criminals whom no one elected as their representative, then why should Western liberal democracies not be held accountable for mass murderers like Tony Blair and George W Bush who were in fact fairly and freely elected by the free will of UK and US citizens to be their representatives?   

    What role model?

    Today, the selfsame Western liberal democracy is in full gear in the US and will soon result in the election of either a career opportunist carpetbagger warmonger serial liar called Hillary Clinton or a white supremacist, xenophobic racist fascist called Donald trump as the next president of the United States.

    ALSO READ: Chilcot lets media off hook for selling Iraq war

    Any one of them who is elected will be an existential danger to the world. Does the world have any say in the matter? Does a Palestinian child, an Iraqi mother, an Afghan widow, has anything to say? Can they speak?  Can they vote in this election?

    Is this democracy a model for the world to emulate? The Israeli settler colony built on the broken but defiant back of Palestinians by a gang of European militant adventurists also calls itself a "democracy" - in fact, "the only democracy in the Middle East". Is this racist apartheid state a model for the rest of the region? 

    We do not have liberal democracies anywhere in the world except in the imaginative geography that calls itself "the West". We have tyrannies, dictatorships, and military juntas. We have deep states, narco-states, supreme leaders for life, neoliberal Communist Party loonies. We have perpetual presidents, divine emissaries, and clerical theocracies.

    Even in India, which is called "the largest democracy in the world", it is really a Hindu fundamentalist fanaticism in which Muslim, Christian and other non-Hindu citizens are less equals than others, even when they are not slaughtered.

    Protesters dressed as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, Britain [EPA]

    So we mortals around the world neither have any claims on this Western liberal democracy, nor should we harbour any delusion that it constitutes a Promised Land where, when we reach it, all will be hunky-dory.

    Are we to work hard so one day we may have the rare privilege of producing a Muslim Donald Trump, an Iranian George W Bush, an Egyptian Tony Blair, or a Syrian Silvio Berlusconi?  

    The world at large is liberated from this illusion. In opposing the tyrants who rule over us, we are entirely on our own. We have no model, no blueprint, no ideal, no aspiration coming to us from the chimera that calls itself "the West".

    We the people around the world, collectively liberated from the delusion of Western liberal democracies, must build our own conceptions of liberty and freedom from ground up, from lived experiences to theoretical articulation. 

    Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies ad Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. 

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policies.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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