"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Double Standards

Dear Madam,

The Irish Times has several times now referred to the recent elections in Iraq as 'democratic'. For instance in today's edition one is informed that "Iraq will get its first democratically elected president today" echoing the sentiment of Mark Steyn who wrote "Now, a legitimate, freely and democratically elected government deriving its powers from the consent of the governed is in Baghdad," in his article suposedly dismissing many of what he called Iraq's 'myths'.

This however poses the question as to why the recent elections in Iraq, under military occupation, are reported in a different manner to those reported in yesterday's Times.

Robert Mugabe's re-election was described using quotes by the South African observer mission and the regional Southern African Development Community observer mission who oversaw the election. They described the election results as encapsulating "the will of the people," although "neither group was willing to describe the election as free and fair." More than likely with good reason. It is noted that the elections were not referred to as democratic.

It comes as no surpirse that the very next day elections endorsed by the US, UK and subsequently The Irish Times were reported to have produced Iraq's "first democratically elected president today." While at the same time describing the voting process as such: "Meanwhile, frustration is growing among ordinary Iraqis who braved suicide bombs and threats from militants to register their vote."

The questioned remains, half answered, can elections be described as democratic if they are neither free nor fair?

Yours sincerely,

In response to:

Kurd may be selected today as new president of Iraq

IRAQ: Iraq will get its first democratically elected president today if the veteran Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani is approved by the national assembly.


The Irish Times

Mugabe to use majority to rewrite constitutionBill Corcoran in Johannesburg

ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe will use his party's newly acquired two-thirds majority in parliament to reinstate most of the provisions of a draft constitution rejected in a national referendum in February 2000.

The Irish Times