To My Reader in Montreal, Shalom,
First of all ... thank you for your long and detailed response!
I think it is also important to remember that Western democracy is far from perfect and the fact that the West maintains that their democracy is the "way" to go in the Middle East, is just not right. How can the West assume to even think that they have the market on correct forms of government? I know the answer there, (because of the christian preoccupation with dominance!)
My dear friend, there is a world of difference between an imperfect form of "democracy" where at least the basic principles of "accountability of the elected to the elector" are at least in place, and the grotesque illusion of democracy of most Middle Eastern regimes (unfortunately more and more Israeli itself)! Brian Mulroney might have gotten away with highway robbery when his party exploited every parliamentary loophole to push through the NAFTA without adequate review and debate ... but his party suffered the most resounding defeat in the history of any western democracy as a result!
Living in the U.S. for so long and immigrating to Canada 5 years ago, I have learned a few things. I don't think there we know what a correct form of democracy is, whether it be in the U.S. format or a Parliamentary format.
I agree, although after careful consideration I personally prefer the British/Canadian/Australian parliamentary system to America's or France's republican system.
In my religious studies I've become quite cynical of where I have come from, and I believe that in order to finally attain "Peace" someone must come forth and create a "zone of truce and peace" where everyone must realize what is truly at stake. This is not about the holy sites, and keeping them for whomever, this is about giving the next generation of children a place to live, in a hopeful world where humanity matters and the killing Stops!
Cynicism is the first step to true understanding - you learn to question all alternatives equally! ;-)
Unfortunately there is evil in the world ... people who deny the principle that all men are created equally. As long as this is true, the "superior" will always seek to dominate and/or eliminate the "inferior". It does not matter whether that superiority stems from ideology or what passes as religion. Remind me to share with you my personal insight on this question.
I saw a report on CTV tonight about a policeman in Ramallah and the fact that masked/armed gun men walk the streets as they do is so foreign to me.
Welcome to the insane world of western media - they are touting these masked men as "the hope of Palestinian democracy". Like our tubby little Chinese friend once said, if this is democracy, it is democracy that realizes that all power comes from the barrels of rifles!
We all - at some point - must agree on one point, that Peace and Co-existence is a viable Possibility. How we are to achieve this is beyond my comprehension.
I wish I could ... unfortunately after living in the reality of the Middle East for thirty five years I have come to realize that "Peace and Coexistence" are only possible where there is mutual respect. As long as the predominate Arab/Muslim population denies the rights of non-Muslims, there can be no real 'peace' and definite not a coexistence of equals!