Saturday, November 19, 2005



Freedom in the Middle East

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released an index of freedom in the Middle East, ranking countries on elections, transparency, corruption, freedom of assembly, and the rule of law. Israel rightly heads the list as the freeest and most democratic country in the Middle East (at least if you're Israeli), and Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia are at the bottom. But what's most striking about the list is this: every country on it uses torture. Every single one. While its good to see the Middle East democratising (and there has been real progress in Lebanon, and some in Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq), it won't be properly free until they stop chaining people to walls and sticking cattle prods on their genitals.

Unfortunately, the country which could best push for change in this area - the United States - is not exactly setting a good example, and is even co-opting these nations' torturers to serve its own ends. Which shows exactly how much they support freedom in the Middle East.

5 comments:

There certainly are good things happening in iraq along with the bad things, but it remains a dangerous country where few rights and freedoms can be exercised safely. That it is placed so high on the list speaks of the appalling nature of current regimes throughout the region.

Posted by adriene : 11/19/2005 01:48:00 PM

Considering that US govt soldiers have just freed some Sunni prisoners tortured by the Iraqi govt (sadly), this proves you've made an idiot of yourself.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/19/2005 04:25:00 PM

"But what's most striking about the list is this: every country on it uses torture. Every single one. While its good to see the Middle East democratising (and there has been real progress in Lebanon, and some in Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq), it won't be properly free until they stop chaining people to walls and sticking cattle prods on their genitals."

And you propose to take them off it by having a nice talk with them?

Thank God that it is President Bush that is in charge and not people like you - you can propose means that aren't working and justify them with hollow, feel-good platitudes only because you are not responsible for anything.

When people like you go to work at CIA (check around what are their political preferences), who else you think works in such "intelligence" units (everybody laugh) - they quickly find out that it is NOT WORKING.

But they have to think up something - hell, let's appease some little dirty dictator in the name of "stability". Repubs will get blamed for our policies anyway, don't you know.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/19/2005 04:31:00 PM

Anon, appeasing dictators in the name of stability has been the US policy in the Middle East for decades. That's why the place is full of torturers.
It would be nice if toppling Saddam represented a real change in that policy, but it's more likely he just got too crazy for them - kinda like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas...

Posted by Psycho Milt : 11/20/2005 06:21:00 AM

"Israel rightly heads the list as the freeest and most democratic country in the Middle East (at least if you're Israeli)"

Well you right in the second part of your statement. But that cancels out the first part.

Posted by Christiaan : 11/21/2005 02:07:00 PM