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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 30 - May 6, 2003

Opinion Columns

Making the world
safe for democracy

Commentary by DICK DORWORTH

After the 2000 U.S. presidential elections in Florida made democracy in America safe and secure in a few powerful hands, instead of scattered among the millions of weak ones belonging to citizens who don’t grasp the Orwellian significance of some hands being more democratic than others, it was clear that democracy and America would never again be the same. Among the differences in the Homeland after that iniquitous election is that America is now involved in the long, preemptive process of making the entire world safe for democracy in a few powerful hands. It is an arduous task, and must be accomplished country by country, one country at a time.

The first two countries to encounter America’s preemptive liberation policy have been Afghanistan and Iraq. They will not be the last.

The practical, on the ground, actual consequences of America’s new democracy doctrine is, at this writing, a matter of confusion and dispute. It is not clear who has been served or made safer, by America’s actions in these two countries. The jury’s out, so to speak, perhaps looking for due process; but it is worth noting that Afghanistan is, in every regard, no closer to democracy or further away from poverty than before the American invasion, and Osama bin Laden is at this writing still at large. (So, at this writing, is Saddam Hussein.)

I am among many who have serious reservations about the legitimacy of George Bush’s presidency, as well as deep concerns about the narrow minded, pathological, obstinate, simplistic, deranged state of mind of the president and his closest advisers and members of his administration. Like many people in America and, coalition rhetoric aside, every other country in the world, I am appalled at the blindness of his certainty that he represents the forces of good fulfilling a Christian mission to fight the forces of evil.

There is no coherent or consistent rationale behind the administration’s choice of countries selected to be made safe for democracy by invasion and war. Some of the criteria seem to be that the country is ruled by a few powerful people for the benefit of a minority at the expense of the majority; civil rights and human rights are not paramount; terrorism against enemies and critics, including its own citizens, is condoned and practiced; weapons of mass destruction are suspected or known to be possessed by those few countries; the citizenry of the country or neighboring countries lives in fear; the country is a potential or at least perceived threat to other nations; there is wealth to be plundered.

While lock-step my country right or wrong flag-waving patriotism is undemocratic, really unintelligent and far more dangerous to the Homeland than heartfelt opposition to madmen at the helm, in the spirit of America’s current crusade, I’d like to step into the current patriotic atmosphere and propose Tibet as the next country that needs to be made safe for democracy. After all, what has happened in Tibet at the hands of China makes the unholy deeds of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden seem, in comparison, like the handiwork of a couple of brutal neighborhood street punks. China invaded their peaceful and essentially unarmed neighbor Tibet in 1949. By 1959 the oppression of the Tibetan people was so severe that there was a popular uprising against the Chinese. Tibet’s spiritual and political leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India. The Chinese killed approximately 1.2 million Tibetans, a fifth of the nation’s population, in order to keep control. Many more Tibetans were put into prison and forced labor camps. Many went into permanent exile. More than 6,000 Buddhist monasteries and temples and other cultural and historical buildings were destroyed and their contents pillaged. The Chinese destruction of the Tibetan people and their culture is a process that continues to this day. Despite China’s brutality toward them, the Tibetan people’s determination to preserve their culture and beliefs and to regain their freedom remains strong. They have asked the international community, including the United States, for help for 50 years. Though lip service has been offered, practical help from America has never materialized. Now that the United States is actively pursing a policy of preemptive strikes to make the world safe for democracy, rescuing Tibet from its oppressors is an obvious and natural choice.

While Tibet doesn’t have huge oil fields or other known natural sources of enormous material wealth worth plundering, it certainly meets all the other criterion of our current administration’s choice of which countries will be made safe for democracy. Tibet is occupied by a brutal invader nation ruled by a few powerful people for the benefit of a few at the expense of the majority; civil and human rights are nonexistent; terrorism against both enemies and critics (i.e. Tiennaman Square; public executions of dissidents) is condoned and practiced; weapons of mass destruction are possessed by China; the citizens of China and its neighbor Tibet are subjugated; and China is a threat to other nations besides Tibet.

Tibet is a natural for the United States to make safe for democracy. It has been waiting for more than 50 years. Of course, China will be a more formidable military foe than those countries America has recently selected to make safe for democracy--Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama and Grenada come to mind---but that shouldn’t matter in the war between good and evil when, if you can believe George Bush, he’s on the side of good and has God on his side.

Who knows what could happen? If Tibet were made safe for democracy, maybe Florida could be next. Maybe democracy could be put back in the hands of the majority and out of the hands of the powerful few. If that could happen in a place like Florida, maybe the world really could be made safe for democracy.


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