Friday, January 28, 2011

For French Daily, Democracy in an Arab Country Is Akin to a Contagious Disease Involving Unpalatable Risks for Its Surrounding Neighbors

Hardly surprising in view of France's outraged attitude regarding the war that toppled a (psychopathic) dictator and brought (at least a semblance of) democracy to Iraq, but still, Le Monde's main headline turns out to be shocking: The Risks of the Tunisian Contagion in North Africa (i.e., for Algeria and Morocco) — suggesting (deliberately or otherwise) that the onset of democracy is not only risky (i.e., something best avoided) but also a contagious disease (idem), to be feared by an Arab and/or by a Muslim country (and by its people?). To its credit, however, Le Monde did publish a few days later a letter to the editor condemning that very headline:

The Contagion of Freedom

What a shock it was to receive the january 19 issue of Le Monde headed by the following title: North Africa: The Risks of the Tunisian Contagion. So: Democracy is contagious and it entails risks!! Quickly, let's vaccinate all Arabs and all the oppressed peoples of Africa, America, and the world at the same time! More seriously: since the items on pages 5 and 6 and on the Debates pages are far more balanced than this awkward title, why not have chosen instead "The Hopes of the Tunisian Contagion"?

Millions of people worldwide have based huge expectations on the experience of a popular revolution supported by the Internet and by the determination of millions of oppressed citizens in Iran, in Egypt, in Algeria, in Libya … who are dreaming of a contagion of freedom …

All hope for a contagion of fear for dictators and of hope for the peoples ...

I regret that Le Monde seems to be adding its voice to the anguish of the colonialists and of the post-colonial profiteers who supported Ben Ali and who will continue to support the successors who are doing their best to avoid contagion.

Martin Guillemot
Leucate (Aude)

Read the original letter in French