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Real democracies work: they educate their children, not just some children; they elicit political and policy opinion from the floor of the culture on up to high office; adult voting is universal and enfranchisement and empowerment and inclusion in other ways are continuously sought. While it’s somewhat true that “democracies get the government they deserve,” a great democracy strives to produce an even greater people by way of encouraging both community and personal development to the extent possible in freedom.

As regards “Hamafia’s” elections, I recall blood in the streets in 2006 as signifying they kind of “democracy” Hamas invests in, and much to its own benefit: Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh are billionaires today, not that “their people” — one wonder what beside intimidation and payoffs keep the same “their people” — benefit from that accumulation of wealth. Ditto for most Russians off to the side of Putin’s “vertical of power” — or on the streets outside of Erdogan’s new “White Palace”. That list grows long.

 Addendum – Same Conversation

They should lament the “loss of liberties” because the very small things, i.e., how to dress, presage the very large and dark things: murder and tyranny.

When the Jews left Pharaoh, they must have not only been responding to the tyrant’s behavior but the human urge to abandon that kind of power and live elsewhere. In the Torah, the Jews are joined in their exodus by a “mixed multitude”. Now, as then, some “get it” but the God that makes the spinning cloud and parts the waters of the Red Sea with its wind may be less obvious in evidence. The secret: it must have been in the humanity of the Jews and that “mixed multitude” to reject Pharaoh, leave that course, and never look back.

India has joined Israel in defense and trade, and relations have been on the upswing at least into December. I should think the attack in Mumbai not easily forgotten in that regard.

What comes up here in Shia-Israel and what is thematic in other relationships is that yesterday’s social reality can be ejected and not put in front of all of us. We can take it apart, and, from time to time, we have to take apart some assumptions and beliefs and move forward of them — leave the despotic, make a miraculous crossing, and wander around lost but within the terrain of a greater faith and humanity.

Hidden behind this one-sided presentation of a conversation: the cylinder of Cyrus the Great, a first humanist statement of human values and rights.  The suggestion: Khamenei wants the esteem of the Arab world, and he has gone against the grain of Persia to get it.  Moreover, his regime represents what is despotic, piratical, and tyrannical in history, and the regime has made him in that regard a modern “pharaoh” a cult personality to be likened unto . . . God, but his regime comes up short by way of Evin Prison, the suffering in Syria (including the suffering of the Palestinian Yarmouk Camp at the hands of the Khamenei-backed Assad regime), and its billius rhetoric about the “Zionist regime”, without which even the poorest of Iran’s constituents might just see their leadership for the enterprise it has become.

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