Saturday, January 28, 2006

Implications of Hamas victory

Imagine terrorists getting the popular mandate! Yes, that's what Hamas has achieved. It won 76 seats out 132; and ruling Fatah won 43. It is a development, the significance of which has been hardly reflected in the media coverage, especially in the light of extents to which the United States has gone to spread democracy around the world.

One premise we need to make here is that the election has been free and fair. There hasn't been any major claim to the contrary so far.

Hamas, short for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya, is without doubt a terrorist organistion. Its goal is destruction of Israel and setting up an Islamic theocracy in the area that is currently Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip; and towards that end, it has set off hundreds of bombs and murdered thousands of people; and proudly claimed credit for them.

That's the way Hamas operates. They don't have a problem, even if you have. What more, it has got the approval of a majority of Palestinians.

No wonder, America is furious. Bush has warned that nearly $400 million worth of aid to the Palestinian Authority will be withheld.

In Latin America, the US regularly has problems as Left-leaning leaders get elected. Venezuela is a typical example. Its President Hugo Chavez has been elected by the people and is a strident critic of American economics and politics. Bush just doesn't know what to do with him. Of course, Fidel Castro has been around for ages.

But implications of Hamas victory is altogether different. And, I have a few questions:

1. Has America really contemplated the prospect of its current enemies (terrorists) getting popular mandate? Already people in North-West Pakistan have rallied in support of Al-Qaida and Taliban activists.

2. Now since a majority of Palestinians have elected a terrorist group to rule them, will that mean most Palestinians are open supporters of terrorism?

3. Terrorists don't have a face, they don't have an organised conventional army, nor they belong to a nation-state. Now, does Hamas victory give a new dimension to this? Is Palestine is a terrorist nation (not the way US already sees it)? Will it be attacked, and destroyed; because the government is run by terrorists (even though they are democratically elected?)

BBC's Have Your Say is on Hamas victory, and there are a number of very interesting perspectives. 'Have Your Say' is broadcast on Sunday at 1400 GMT on BBC website, BBC World TV and BBC World Service Radio.

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