The article "US 'Lukewarm' on Arab Democracy," Aug. 6, is quite alarming. The contention of some State Department officials that the Arab world is not ready for democracy defies both logic and historical reality. Up to the early 1950s, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, the forerunner Arab peoples to independence, were parliamentary democracies. It is only with the advent of military coups and one-party systems that the moral fiber of political life began to degenerate and Arab societies fell into the abyss of dictatorship and backwardness. Unless people practice democracy, they will never be democratic. How can anybody discover the value of freedom if they are constantly governed by terror and torture and intimidation? Constrained and intimidated political groups will surely malpractice their newly retrieved franchise not out of malice or evil intentions, but rather out of frustration, ignorance, and inexperience. Nobody condones reckless behavior by some fundamentalist factions; but no one has the right to condemn a whole nation to slaver y on the assumption that it is not ready for democracy. Mahammad Ridha, Rocky River, Ohio
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