Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Democracy and the Election of Leaders.

The troubles in the Muslim countries today seems to spring from a lack of consensus on what a good and desirable leadership should be.In simple terms, people are not sure what type of people they want to govern the country. Is an effective and a desirable leader a person who can keep everything in order in the country while the people enjoy a steady pace of development and progress although he (or she) has to exercise a strong and firm hand, or should he be one who has no strong conviction himself and just listens to his friends and advisers (including those from outside the country) to determine what action must be taken in any situation? the strong and weak hands

Modern political theories and philosophy of management tell us that a leader must be democratic, listen to and be guided by the advise of leaders at lower levels, and be responsive to the feedbacks that he or she gets from the public in regard to the effectiveness of his policies and programs. He/she should be able to get the best from those working under him/her, be it in terms of ideas or work productivity. He or she doesn't have to be super intelligent but is able to tap the minds of others under him/her. He or she should be very friendly with the people working under him or her and the people that the government serves. He/she should be popular with all and must be easily approachable.undefined desirable qualities

But a very popular leader following the above prescriptions can be easily persuaded by his close friends and powerful allies both within and outside the country. He or she can easily loose touch with the common men-in-the-street for he depends on his friends and the leaders below him to report and interpret what is happening. His "advisers", official or otherwise, can easily convinced him that everything is okay and arranged for him to be given a rousing welcome wherever and whenever he goes out to see the people. He can be effectively 'shielded' from the reality of things on the ground.
the popular outlaw
In contrast is the leader who wants things to be run in his way, finds out the truth himself (or herself), and holds a firm hand on everything that happens in the country.He/she doesn't allow anything to go out of control and nips all problems in the bud. He or she might even appear a little despotic but everything remains under firm control leaving people to live and work in peace. The welfare on the many is given more consideration than the interests of the few who are already rich and prosperous, or the views and advice of his close friends who are thriving under his aegis. He or she will not allow outside interests to disturb the peace and welfare of the people, even if the country has to undergo a somewhat strained relationship with some other countries. He or she rules with a rather firm hand, even if he or she is not quite popular but well respected.

The muslims in the trouble-ridden countries seemed to ba uncertain on what type of leadership they want. Many strong but a somewhat undemocratic kind of leadership had fallen, with the help of outside forces, leaving the country in a worse shape than before. Many are now tottering and on the brink of falling, leaving the country in a state of self-destruction. The people seemed to want a new leader with certain qualities but failed to define those qualities or agreed among themselves on those qualities so that they can agree on the best candidate available. It is a disagreement on those undetermined qualities of a desirable leader (or leaders) that led to conflicting choices and a bitter and blooding bickering among themselves. The disagreement is often exploited by outside forces with a special interest of their own.

Thus the sooner the people decide on what type of leadership they want, and agree on the qualities that are required to meet the need of the day, the faster they will be able to agree on the leader most suitable for the country. Their indecision on who will make the most effective leader to pull the country and people together, will continue to cause havoc and turmoil in the country.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weak Majority and Strong Minority.

The voice of the majority is the determining factor in a democracy. It's supposed to be the voice that determines who rule the country, what laws are to be adopted and what policies are to be implemented. It's the voice that sanctioned everything or put a stop to what the majority don't want. the golden charioteers

But do things really work that way, even in a democracy? Yes, the general election will determine who will become members of the Legislative body at the Federal, State or other levels as the case may be. The party will select the candidates for the poll and the electorate will determine who will be selected and from what party. As usual the Legislative body both at the Federal and State levels will comprise of the Government and the Oppositon sector- the Government representing the majority, the Opposition representing the minority. Again, is that what the reality of the day is?
residetial paradise
The government in power representing the majority of the electorate must accommodate and cater to the needs and demands of the minority, to prevent the Opposition from capitalizing on them to win the election in the next round.It often has to bend backwards to accommodate and satisfy the demands, especially when the so-called minority is numerically and economically very strong. While the majority has voted the Government into power, the grass-root populace is economically weak and will no be able to provide the needs for rapid development. The Government has to depend on the stronger minority to strengthen the engine of growth and development. And make sure that that engine will not be cajoled and commandeered by the Opposition. In the end, the needs and demands of the stronger minority can be attended to more than the need of the numerically superior but economically weaker majority.the poor majority

Confusing, isn't it? Well that's how politics and government work.Things often don't work out as the theoretical blueprint says it would, and reality may not be as what you see on the ground. Why so? Because it's not politics that rule the world today but money and material wealth. Both can buy politics to work for their interests. It's a blessing that there is always the right and the left wings in government and politics, the contending forces, the countervailing powers, and the check and balance. If the needs and interests of the weak majority are not taken care of and satisfied, the majority will dwindle since much of its support will move over to the Opposition. If the needs and interests of the stronger minority are not attended to, their support for the government will weaken and it's hold on power may be threatened.

So, how can the problem of a weak majority (WM) and a strong minority (SM) be managed since some problems can never be overcome. That's the question the leaders of developing and newly developed countries have to answer since the WM -SM issue is strongest in these countries. The rich and wealthy form a very small minority while the vast majority of the people are still living just above subsistence level. This becomes more complicated when the rich and the poor also fall along a racial divide in a multiracial country. When the weak majority feel that their interests and needs have really been neglected, the country will have to face the forces of instability biting its butt.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Smoke Signals and War Drums

I used to enjoy reading comic books with cowboys and red Indians, smoke signals,war drums, and lots of fighting. We don't see those comic books anymore, all replaced by video games full of war stories using destructive weapons and death defying heroes. Deaths and destruction on a massive scale become the focus of attention, the fun and the excitement. All sorts of fancy weapons of death that the creative minds of the authors can create, are displayed and used with awful ( or awesome?) results. Our young people, children and young adults just love those videos with true-to-life cartoon characters.the smoke signal of yesteryear

So, the smoke signals and war drums culture is not actually dead but transformed into modern modes of causing destruction and deaths ss promoted by modern technology and electronics wonders. Even tiny tots are provided with toys and playthings that resemble heroic characters from war stories at earthly or intergalactic levels. For the bigger boys and girls including some adults, the video games can be so filled with deaths and destruction that the DD factor is the main center of attraction, more attractive than love and game of today

Yes, the world today is built on a love for human conflicts, enmities, deceits, fightings, wars, death and destruction. The smoke signal and war drums culture is still alive and elevated to an astronomical scale.Anyone walking by a video room in the house or at a video center will be hearing the sound of explosions and battle fury crowned by shouts of excitement and horror from the players. That's the no. 1 form of entertainment today among the young beside fast cars and motors. (I don't want to mention pornography!).

So, should we be surprised that the adult world has also not succeeded in suppressing or discarding the smoke signal and war drums culture? The smoke signal and war drums roll on in the Middle East, in the West and in the East. World leaders want peace and freedom for the people. But peace and freedom can only be gained by sending smoke signals and rolling the war drums to scare the smaller leaders fighting for their own survival in their respective countries. War had been launched before with disastrous results which could not be stopped even now, and new threats have been issued.The smoke signal gets thicker and the war drums roll louder. All because someone is using or alleged to be using 'chemical weapons' in fighting a local war. The same allegation had been used before to launch a full scale war which ended in a disaster....the war game goes on

Yes, the adult and sophisticated world loved smoke signals and war drums, as much as the war itself, like the young people love video games with lots of fighting, deaths and destruction. The war machines had become more and more sophisticated with lots on invention to make death and human destruction a pleasure to some screwed-up minds. If politics had become just a game for many world leaders, war had become like a sports event with many gold medals to be won.

Like the comic book lovers of old, we just have to watch the smoke signals get thicker and the war drums roll louder. The war chiefs now fly around the globe to pow=wow with blood brothers to support their quest for a war to end the bickerings of the smaller tribes, to bring them peace and freedom.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Respect for Religion.

It is ironical that the more religious a person is, the more critical he or she tends to be of another religion. It follows that the less religious a person is the more tolerant he or she is of the religion of others. Why is it ironical? Because a religious person should be well aware of the fact that they are many religious faiths in this world and even people holding the same faith or religion can belong to different orders or sects. Islam is predicted by Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to break up into 73 sects while Chritianity could break up into 72. Only God knows how the religions of the world will end up one day. What we Muslims believe is that Allah let people adopt different religious beliefs so that human beings will learn from each other. Almighty God can certainly allow only one religion to survive if He so wishes.
The world is for all Human Beings
Respect for one another's religion is the mark for true religiosity.You hold on to what you believe and let others do the same. It's the intervention of the State to tolerate only one religion or one religious order and force all its citizens to follow that order, which can cause turmoil and disorder. It is that spirit which in the past led to senseless wars and the killing of innocent people in the name of religion. Should we allow that spirit to be revived when it is very clear now that you cannot force people to adopt any religion other than what they believe in and chose for themselves? Religious freedom or freedom to practice the religion one believes in, has been accepted by most countries in the modern world. To belittle or insult the religion of others is the most irreligious behavior one can think of. On the other hand showing a deep respect for the religion of others is a reflection of your own religiosity. One source of information indicates that people of the world are divided into five different religions as below:

Five largest religions: Adherents in 2007 as % of world population.

Christianity 2.0 billion 33%
Islam 1.2 billion 19.6%
Hinduism 811 million 13.4%
Chinese folk religion 385 million 6.4%
Buddhism 360 million 5.9%

The estimate is certainly out of date since there has been a lot of reports on religious conversion in recent years.One estimate puts the number of Muslims in the world as approaching 2 billion. On the other hand many Chinese are known to have adopted Christianity or Buddhism The five major as their religion. The above figures can only be accepted as indicative.
A Muslim Woman should cover everything but her face and hands

But the fact remains clear. The five major religions as shown above, especially in the case of Christianity and Islam can be broken down into various orders or sects.The total shown falls short of 100% indicating that a high percentage of the world population has been left out, probably coming under the category of "free thinkers" or atheists. The world would be in a terrible mass and hell can break lose if people cannot respect each other's religious belief and live in peace, leaving the final act of judgement to God Almighty.

We should respect the religion of others as we revere our own faith. The beliefs that underpin our religion hold the same significance as the beliefs that others hold for their religion. If that truth is appreciated much of the misunderstandings between people holding different religion can be removed. The Muslims for example cannot question why Christians pray at alters with the effigy of Lord Christ in as much as the Christians cannot question why Muslims pray five or more times a day or fast in the month of Ramadhan. Nor should both Muslims and Christians question the offerings of food and other symbols of wealth and prosperity to their ancestors as done by the Chinese. Our religion is our personal business and others should respect it just as we should respect the personal business of others.
The Human Ego is hard to control
Finally, politics should not and should never be allowed to interfere with the sanctity of or our choice of religion. If we allow political interests to dominate religious beliefs as it does in all other aspects of our life today, we will surely end up in the political melting pot as already experienced by some countries.