Subject: Democracy versus Freedom
Dear Madame Secretary:
I read with interest your comments about the importance of democratic institutions to be developed in Palestinian areas before true peace can occur.
I am afraid that I've been seeing too many people in the administration substitute "democracy" for "freedom." Democracy is not a panacea; after all, Hitler was elected democratically. What needs to be stressed, as Natan Sharansky has been saying and writing, is that the existence of a free society is a necessary precondition to true democracy.
It is apparent that terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah would do quite well in democratic elections, but their being voted in does not make them less terroristic by one bit. Unless true freedoms have a chance to take hold in Arab societies, unless women and minorities can walk around without fear, unless the culture of hate disappears and is replaced by a culture of life - only then can elections be meaningful and fruitful. Until then, I am afraid that elections would just be a smokescreen for more terror with a dignified veneer.
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