Well, perhaps not everyone. See, Color revolutions will not bring about real democracy, Global Times, Jan. 30, 2011 ("In general, democracy has a strong appeal because of the successful models in the West. But whether the system is applicable in other countries is in question, as more and more unsuccessful examples arise. In the West, democracy is not only a political system, but a way of life. Yet some emerging democracies in Asia and Africa are taking hit after hit from street-level clamor. Democracy is still far away for Tunisia and Egypt. The success of a democracy takes concrete foundations in economy, education and social issues. As a general concept, democracy has been accepted by most people. But when it comes to political systems, the Western model is only one of a few options. It takes time and effort to apply democracy to different countries, and to do so without the turmoil of revolution." Id.).
President Hu Jintao shakes hands with visiting Eyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the Great Hall of the People yesterday. The two leaders agreed to consolidate political ties, expand economic relations and increase cultural exchanges. [newsphoto]
Whatever the merits of transformational mass democratic mobilization, there is another face to mass democratic movements and the mobilization through which it exercises its sovereign authority. Pakistan, perhaps, shows us the face of popular democracy triumphant, the "day after." The recent popular execution of a high government official opposed to the severe application of the blasphemy laws in the Islamic Republic against a Christian peasant woman who was said to have offended the sensibilities of Islam reminds us that popular democracy, and the will of the people, again raises fundamental issues of sovereign will and universal values with respect to which no consensus appears likely.
About 40,000 people rallied in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore on Sunday in the latest protest against proposed reforms of a controversial blasphemy law, police said.
Religious groups have held protests in several Pakistani cities since former Punjab governor Salman Taseer vowed to amend the law, that was recently used to sentence a Christian woman to death
Taseer's stance enraged the country's increasingly conservative religious base and he was assassinated on January 4 by his own security guard, who has said he killed the governor over his support for reform.
Under intense pressure from religious parties, Pakistan's government has since said it had no intentions to amend the law.
Demonstrators from religious parties Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan and Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity linked with 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, held banners in support of Mumtaz Qadri -- the police commando who shot dead Taseer.
Participants chanted slogans including "Free Mumtaz Qadri", "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the honour of Prophet Mohammad" and "Changes in blasphemy law not accepted."
An AFP reporter saw activists carrying effigies of Pope Benedict XVI and Pakistani minorities affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti shouting slogans "Allah-o-Akbar." (From Thousands rally in Pakistan over blasphemy law, sifynews.com, Jan. 30, 2011)
Barelvis, who are dominant in Punjab, did not support the holy war against Soviet rule in Afghanistan. As terrorist attacks have surged in Pakistan, several prominent Barelvis have issued decrees condemning suicide bombing and other violence. Islamist insurgents have responded with major bombings at Sufi shrines and mosques.
Over the past two years, the sect has formed an alliance that, leaders say, intends to field candidates for political office to promote peaceful Islam and the authority of the state. The group, the Sunni Ittehad Council, is staunchly anti-American, but also fervently anti-Taliban, on grounds that killing innocents cannot be justified under Islam.
"This is a very basic concept. If you kill an innocent person, it means you are killing all humanity," said Mohammed Ziaul Haq, a council spokesman and author whose new book is titled "WikiLeaks: America's Horrendous Face." "Islam is a religion of peace and love, and it asks its followers to restrain themselves."
But killing in response to blasphemy is another matter, he said, making it "totally different from terrorism.'' The government had done nothing to silence Taseer's criticism of the blasphemy ban, he said, or his support for a Christian woman sentenced to death for the law, which he said had made Taseer an "indirect" blasphemer himself. "Ninety percent of people in Pakistan think Mumtaz Qadri is a hero," Ziaul Haq said. "If it's a democracy, the government should think about that." Karin Brulliard, "For Moderate Majority, A Hard Line" The Washington Post, Jan. 30, 2011, at A-8).
Conventional wisdom now holds that Article V is the only way to amend the Constitution. Article V is how the government amends the Constitution, not how the people do it. If the people had to use Article V to amend the Constitution they would need permission from two-thirds of the Congress and three-fourths of the state legislatures. This would mean that the creator of our government, the people, would have to get permission from their elected representatives, the createes of the people, to amend the Constitution. This logic is ludicrous. The constituent power of the people––the source of all political power––cannot be subject to the power of its creation. James Madison had it right when he said that the people could just do it. (From Mike Gravel, The National Initiative for Democracy, A Populist Concept of Democracy; (“Let the People Decide”)).
Yet it might be possible to suggest an alternative analytical approach. The second issue that the Pakistani mobilization suggests is not so much mass democratic instincts run riot, but the critical role of the masses in guarding the most fundamental normative structures of the constitutional systems under which it has consented to be governed. "Speakers at the Karachi rally sought to justify Mr. Taseer's assassination, saying the killer fulfilled his obligation as a Muslim." (From Zahid Hussain, Islamists Rally for Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws, Wall Street Journal Asia, Jan. 10, 2011). The people of Pakistan have declared the fundamental Muslim character of the state and its institutions. That is not merely a incantation fetish but a shorthand for a set of substantive values and approaches to law, governance and relationships among people grounded in the normative rules of Islam. See, Larry Catá Backer, Theocratic Constitutionalism: An Introduction to a New Global Legal Ordering (July 28, 2008). Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2008; Islamic Law and Law of the Muslim World Paper No. 08-44. "Establishing Islam as the state ideology was a device aimed at defining a Pakistani identity (PDF) during the country's formative years, wrote Haqqani." Jayshree Bajoria, Pakistan's Fragile Foundations, Council on Foreign Relations, March 12, 2009 (referencing Husain Haqqani, "The Role of Islam in Pakistan's Future", The Washington Quarterly 28(1): 85-96 (2004-05)) It is true that it may be the Islam understood as a true expression of that faith held by believers in Pakistan (and that may vary from views held by believers in other places inside or outside the dar al Islam), but that makes it no less the governing set of substantive values that constrain both state and democratic action. "And we are so frightened of crossing the line that would render us faithless that we are ready to sacrifice anyone and draw blood to feed our faith. What if we do not have the stomach to wield the knife ourselves? We can still goad the butchers on from the fences. For those of us who call ourselves liberal Muslims there is always the option of turning away and holding our noses." (From Mohammed Hanif, Pakistan viewpoint: Who is to blame for Taseer's death?, BBC News Online, Jan. 6, 2011) If Islam defines the normative parameters of the state, and its social, cultural and political values, then it suggests that popular mobilizations in its defense are both legitimate and necessary for the state to remain true to and subject to its own normative constitutional constraints. To generalize the point, consider the essays in Democratizing Democracy: Beyond the Liberal Democratic Canon (Reinventing Social Emancipation) (Boaventura de Sousa Santos, ed., Verso, 2008).