Do elections automatically confer legitimacy on a regime giving it license to do as it pleases? This is the conventional wisdom in vogue these days. Even the vilest of dictators go through the ritual of elections and assume the mantle of being “democratic.” Adolf Hitler had come to power in Germany through elections. Would his regime be described as a democracy? What about the brute in uniform in Egypt: ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi? He also went through an election ritual and claims he has a mandate to rule. Never mind that he had the opposition candidates locked up during election and had grabbed power by staging a coup in July 2013. He murdered hundreds if not thousands of innocent people, among them women and young girls, in the process.
Last month two brutal regimes — the Zionist one in Israel and the Hindu fascist one in India — went through the same ritual: elections. India’s farce is still underway and will be completed in mid-May. Lest it be misunderstood, we are not opposed to seeking people’s consent to govern; it is imperative that people give their verdict before someone can assume power. Our concern is about how that consent is obtained and equally critically, how that mandate is interpreted and used.
Zionist Israel claims to be the “only democracy” in the Middle East while Hindu India claims to be the “largest democracy in the world.” How accurate are these descriptions and how should we perceive democracy as a system of governance? Donald Trump also claims to be the “democratically elected president” of the United States! It is said that the US has the best democracy money can buy. Benjamins rule America!
The Zionist entity was planted on the land of the Palestinians. Through a pre-meditated campaign of terror, the Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their homes and villages and displaced from their lands, turning them into refugees. The Zionists have since grabbed almost all of Palestine. The Palestinians live in little Bantustans isolated from each other. Even during the era of apartheid in South Africa, the blacks were not as badly treated as Palestinians are by the Zionists in Colonized Palestine. They are humiliated, oppressed, jailed, tortured, and killed. Such are the “civilized” ways of the “only democracy in the Middle East.” And more recently, Israel has topped all this with its “National Law,” asserting that Israel is the state of only the Jewish people. This is raw racism. And regimes in the West led by the US, not only support the Zionists but also applaud their murderous ways. During the election campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu said he would annex the illegal Zionist settlements in the West Bank. This is further theft of Palestinian land.
The “world’s largest democracy” — India — is also an occupying colonial power. It has illegally occupied two-thirds of Kashmir oppressing its 12 million people. India maintains more than 700,000 occupation troops that oppress, humiliate, rape, and kill the Kashmiris. Nearly 100,000 Kashmiris have been murdered since 1989. Thousands of others have been tortured while more than 11,000 women and girls have been raped. Not one person has been arrested much less prosecuted for such heinous crimes.
In India itself, the Kashmiris as well as other Muslims are routinely attacked and lynched. Hindu mobs rampage in packs like wolves, lynching hapless Muslims. Since the rise to power of Narendra Modi, a certified war criminal, Hindu fascists have been emboldened. They demand that Muslims must either convert to Hinduism or leave. They insist that India is a country only for Hindus. In this, they and the Zionists are on the same page.
Do elections make any difference to the conduct of these barbarians? Unless a polity is guided by moral principles that treats all human beings as equal and worthy of respect, no elections or claims to democracy hold any value.