Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) – The events that unfolded in Washington DC on Wednesday are not the same as elsewhere, in countries often referred to as “third world” or “developing” or “there.” Those are places where, lest we forget, the United States has often meddled or invaded under the auspices of bringing democracy.
Sure there are superficial similarities in the videos of the mob storming the US Capitol and, say, the time when Shiite protesters stormed the Iraqi parliament in 2016. Back then, in Iraq, protesters had taken the arms by stalling parliament on forming a government and were demanding a proposed cabinet reshuffle. They were mostly supporters of the radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who had incited them to protest for him.
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Take tear gas and explosions from Washington and you can make a cursory comparison with Libya, when gunmen loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar stormed parliament in 2014; a bit of a stretch, but even to Kabul in 2015 when the Taliban launched a deadly attack on parliament; Egypt in 2013, when a popular coup removed Mohamed Morsi from power.
But what is happening in the United States is uniquely American. It is the monster of that country, just like the monsters elsewhere (they are often allowed to exist, it should be mentioned, through the support, overt or covert, of the US and the West) are unique in the nations where they exist. .
Most Americans are horrified and disgusted by what has happened, seeing an attempt to steal their democracy, almost shattered, with an uncertain future and full of lies and fiction propagated by the highest seat of power.
There has been a brief glimpse of the fear and violence that grips the populations of other countries who are fighting and dying in the name of democracy and freedom. A glimpse of how quickly you can destroy what you take for granted, how fragile the social fabric really is, how a marginal and violent minority can overcome the narrative.
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America used to have a moral position, or at least the facade of a moral position. It’s a position that has eroded over the years, even before the Trump era, with its most recent history of the invasion of Iraq on fabricated pretexts, the incarceration of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay without due process, the continued support of dictators, monarchies and autocrats when it is in the interests of the United States.
The Trump era unveiled itself to reveal the ugliness within America, one that the United States can no longer ignore, but has always existed. It is embedded in the murders of black Americans, in police brutality and systematic racism; It is shown in the reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement, MeToo, the rise of white supremacism. And those who oppose that ugliness are fighting for what they believe to be the soul of their nation.
The concepts on which we have built our societies are fragile, more than many of us want to accept.
Let us no longer despise the nations whose peoples fight and fight for democracy with moral superiority, but with understanding and empathy.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism