Shocking news out of Iraq! Really? You’re shocked?

Shocking news out of the Middle East. Iraq is falling apart. Shocking news. Really? None of the experts saw this coming? No one considered the possibility that different tribes who haven’t gotten along since the beginning of time, would fail at putting aside their tribal culture and develop a democracy?

We’re living in a time that has promoted moral and cultural relativism. We’re badgered into believing that all cultures are the same and it’s not our place to judge. But by denying reality we have put millions of innocent people into danger. That anyone would expect tribal leaders to sit down, together, the way leaders in the West sit down, speaks to our arrogance that comes from having had the opportunity, the blessing of living in a culture based on ethical monotheism.

Ethical monotheism, the Judeo/Christian ethic, was a revolutionary ethic 3500 years ago and for far too many remains an ethic that’s too revolutionary to implement. It isn’t an easy ethic. It tells us to care for our brother- a tribal belief, but it obligates us to care for the other- the different. Democracies have developed over time because of the incorporation of this very difficult concept-caring for the stranger.

Tribal cultures don’t care for those outside their family, clan and tribe. That’s a given. It’s taking place all over the Middle East and in Africa. It’s the norm as much as caring for others is the foundation of Western culture. To demand that these cultures become like us is as foolish as asking us to return to tribal life. Western culture is evolutionary as well as revolutionary.

The West, the EU, the UN, have expended their political capital on attacking the only democracy in the Middle East, making demands of that country that they’d never accept for themselves. By doing this, they gave the autocratic, despotic, theocratic tribal countries in the area a sense of safety. They need not worry about being asked to evolve, to move away from their gender apartheid, corrupt, abusive ways, with leaders looking out for themselves and their relatives at the expense of all others. No pressure to learn to live with “the other” in the same country. So they carried on in their tribal ways. And we are shocked that Iraq is falling apart: that Jihadists and militant Islamists are moving in with their regressive, repressive ways.

I’m shocked that you did not see this. Anyone who studies culture, who hasn’t swallowed the left-wing ideological pap of moral and cultural relativism, knew this was coming. You cannot impose Western culture, laws, traditions, beliefs on a tribal culture. It takes time. There is a story of a people walking through the desert, tribes that came together as a nation, caring for each other and learning the need to care for the other. That “walk” took forty years. Two generations for the old people afraid of a new lifestyle to die in order for the new ideology to take hold.

You cannot buy democracy. You cannot impose democracy. You cannot end tribal culture by pouring money into leaders who are tribal. Iraq is a country made of tribes who hate each other. That they believe in the same God and speak the same or similar language was not enough to hold them together. Tribal loyalties are too deeply embedded.

Change will come in the Middle East and in Africa when the West, the EU and the UN promote democracy and point to the only country in the area that epitomizes democracy, a nation-state that is open to all “tribes” as a role model for everyone else. When Israel is promoted by the West rather than demonized, then others may strive to be free, open and welcoming to all.


About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "