Jollof rice

From News24 by way of Salon:

[President Thabo] Mbeki said those making war on Iraq contended that they had taken up arms to transform that country into a democracy. The proposition was that democracy could be imposed -- "in much the same way that one can force-feed a person on a hunger strike."

"Presumably the argument is that whether a person ingests jollof rice voluntarily or does so because he or she is force-fed, the fact remains that they have eaten jollof rice."

Mbeki added: "I am not certain that the institution of a democratic system can be approached in the same way that we approach the consumption of jollof rice."

You know, I thought the whole bit of making the world safe for democracy was rather arrogant and egotistical, and now I find myself thinking that really wouldn't be so bad compared to the hubris coming out of the Bush administration these days. At least the phrase "making the world safe for democracy" carries with it the implication that the most that we can do is make it possible for people to make their own choices. As arrogant as it is, it incorporates within the slogan the implicit acknowledgement that the real power lies with the population of the rest of the world.

"Regime change" just somehow doesn't capture that important point in quite the same way.

Posted: 2003-04-08 01:15 — Why no comments?

my favourite bon mot in this context is "regime change begins at home".

aside from which i am now really curious about the taste of jollof rice.

Posted by piranha at 2003-04-08 21:17

I see a major flaw in Mbeki's comparison.

A hunger striker is, presumably, abstaining from food of his own free will.

I can only hope that Mbeki does not believe that the Iraqi people have freely chosen to be ruled by a quasi-fascist dictator.

Posted by deane at 2003-04-09 04:56

Yes, that's a good point. Although I do still like the comparison. And to some degree the people in the region have chosen not to have a democracy... I mean, it's always hard to tell just how much of not having democracy could have been changed by the general population of the country and how much was due to other circumstances.

Posted by eagle at 2003-04-09 22:36

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04