We should turn Saudi Arabia into a democratic nation
Debate Rounds (4)
I am taking the Con side of this debate. My opponent will argue that we should turn Saudi Arabia into a democratic nation.
I debated this once before, but my opponent presented an illogical, incoherent, and heated argument that was not fulfilling in the least. The voters on that debate wished to see it presented again, so here it is.
R1: Con rules
Pro Opening arguments
R2: Arguments and rebuttals
R4: Rebuttals and conclusions
Since Pro is arguing to change the established system, BOP is on Pro.
I'm assuming that Con will have to show that the current system is acceptable compared to democracy and its tenets, which form the basis of any civilisation.
1. "I'm assuming that Con will have to show that the current system is acceptable compared to democracy and its tenets, which form the basis of any civilisation."
Here my opponent attempts to shift BOP to me. This is fallacious, as I have illustrated in my opening. My opponent is arguing to alter the established system in Saudi Arabia, and therefore must illustrate reasons the current system needs to be changed.
2.acceptable compared to democracy
This is ambiguous, as acceptability may vary from individual to individual. If my opponent wishes to argue acceptability of the current system, he must first set a logical standard of acceptability.
3. "democracy and its tenets, which form the basis of any civilisation."
Here my opponent states that democracy forms the basis of any civilization.
The definition of civilization has changed significantly since the establishment of archeology as a science. According to the University of Illinois, Standard In Field definition is as follows:
“Effective working definition (especially by archaeologists): a grouping of at least several thousand people with a common culture, usually a common language, usually a geographic locale, some significant (usually monumental) buildings and architecture, and a political structure that is not necessarily unified”
This definition includes Ancient Egypt, Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient China, the Great Persian Empires, the Islamic civilization, the Aztecs, the Incas, Medieval Europe, Native America, and countless others. All of these are considered civilizations, but none of them had a basis of democracy.
Thus my opponent has made an erroneous statement.
The Saudi people do not want democracy in their nation. During the Arab Spring, nearly the entire Middle East erupted in protest against the established regimes. In Saudi Arabia however, less than 200 protesters caused no more disruption than a few isolated demonstrations. These demonstrators were Shia malcontents, calling for the "Downfall of the house of Saud" and the establishment of the "reign of the Ayatollah". In short, they were not calling for democracy, but calling for the rule of the Iranian regime. Unfortunately my sources are in Arabic, as the western media failed to translate the chants of the protesters. I have included a video of these protests, so anyone who can understand Arabic can hear what they are calling for. I will note that the western media played up these protests and exagerrated the numbers beyond belief. I was present in Jeddah when less than 50 protesters picketed infront of a government building. When I arrived at my apartment, I watched the CNN report, where they claimed that the numbers of that protest were in access of one thousand. I lost all faith in western media that night.
One may argue that these protests were so small and isolated because the Saudi people were too afraid to demonstrate against the Saudi Regime. This would hold true had those protests been the extent of the Arab Spring activity in Saudi Arabia. But this argument is refuted so incredibly it is to some quite shocking.
Not only did the Saudi People not protest, but when they heard of the Shia demonstrations against their king millions of people took to the streets all across Saudi Arabia in celebration for their King and government. I witnessed this personally. Millions of Saudis parading through the streets chanting phrases like "God Bless Uncle Abdullah" (the name of the king), waving Saudi flags, Hoisting up and honoring pictures of their king, and dressing in the national colors. I have included three different videos of this celebration, taken at three different locations within the kingdom.
I argue that the Saudi People love their way of life, just we in America love ours. It is the epitome of arrogance insensitivity, and oppression to try to subvert their culture and lives to our values.
I will draw an analogy to illustrate my point.
White Supremacists picket somewhere in Wyoming, and Russian media records it. They then broadcast this footage in Russia, claiming that not only do Americans want to get rid of Black people in their country, but that they are calling for Communism as well. Therefore the Russian people believe that we ought to be "liberated" and subject to communism.
This is the equivalent of the general attitude demonstrated by westerners towards Saudi Arabia, and it is wrong.
With this I conclude my opening arguments.
'The Saudi People do not want democracy in their nation.'
This is the line repeated by every single dictator today. In peacetime especially, there is no excuse for a dictatorship. Dictatorship is the ultimate form of political cowardice; and exists only as a layer of insulation between the privileged elite and the peasants outside the gaudy palace. If the regime is so popular and the people want the status quo to remain as it is, they have nothing to fear from democracy. Remaining a dictator is an admission that one's regime is unpopular, and in a free market of ideas cannot withstand as it is inferior to the others. Once subjected to scrutiny, I am confident that the regime would collapse.
'During the Arab Spring...In Saudi Arabia however, less than 200 protesters caused no more disruption than a few isolated demonstrations.'
Firstly, your statistics are completely false.
This is from Press TV, an Iranian news agency, hardly biased and western. And even if you attribute it to Iranian bias, you can see at least 200 demonstrators in the photo provided.
Estimates from most sources say around 4,000 demonstrators were involved in the protests, which were largely concentrated in Eastern Saudi Arabia.
The denominational map of Saudi Arabia concentrates the Shia minority, which amounts to approximately 10% of the population and have been brutally oppressed since the formation of the kingdom in the aftermath of the First World War.
I attribute this and the minority ethnic and religious government to the stupidity and ignorance of Britain in the First World War. Britain supported the religious fanatics and tribal minorities fighting the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, and then gave the area of the Arabian peninsula that they didn't control to them.
Also. the government of Saudi Arabia announced tax cuts and jobs packages worth $130 billion, nearly a quarter of the country's GDP. All revolutions start with an economic disaster, since it mobilises the general population rather than just political groups. You'll find most people taking part in revolutions in France, Russia, Libya and Tunisia were just demanding employment and food.
The 'malcontents' as you so gracefully put it only make up the tip of the iceberg. When there is any major political movement, don't dismiss it as a few malcontents. It is a manifestation of popular opinions, unless there is a significant counterdemonstration in the vicinity.
According to this article in the Independent, there is a very vocal online community of dissidents in Saudi Arabia that are not 'Shia malcontents', but
The monarchist demonstrations were most likely not out of any great love for the Saudi Royal Family, who are themselves an object of ridicule throughout the world thanks to their professed piety juxtaposed with the liberal use of drugs and prostitutes; but out of love for the tax cuts and jobs packages given.
'I was present in Jeddah'
Jeddah is in Hedjaz, the area of west and central Saudi Arabia that is the heartland of the monarchy's support base. To judge the strength of the regime's support base by its most loyal constituency is somewhat absurd. One wouldn't go to San Francisco to judge support for President Obama and then come to the conclusion that he was the most popular president of all time.
I'm going to need some sources in English, or the audience and I cannot consider them valid.
Saudi Arabia is among the most autocratic, reactionary and theocratic states in the world, even on Middle Eastern standards. There are no meaningful elections, a small core of the population that amount to roughly 8 million of the 28 million people are given rights over the rest, be it their gender, their nationality or their religion.
In Economist Democracy Index, Saudi Arabia finished 160th, six places ahead of North Korea, the least democratic country in the world. The index is ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, North Korea in last with an overall score of 1.08 and Norway in first with an overall score of 9.80. Saudi Arabia achieved a pitiful overall score of 1.84, with 0.00 in Electoral Process and Pluralism, 1.11 in Political Participation and 1.47 in Civil Liberties.
The country has become a hotbed for Salafi and Wahhabi extremism, driven largely by the theocratic nature of the state. The constitution of the country is essentially the Quran, it even has a verse proclaiming Allah to be the only God and Muhammad his prophet; its hatred of women, Shiites and other religious and tribal minorities; apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery being capital crimes; the medieval systems of corporal punishment the civilised world has long since abolished; and the state endorsement of radical Islamist sects. It is no coincidence that the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, given the immense presence of religion in civil society.
There are also bans on women driving, since according to a notable cleric, 'it risks damaging the women's ovaries'; an uncovered body save the eyes and hands when outside, the consumption of alcohol (though Saudi princes are no strangers to it), the consumption of pork, walking dogs, buying and selling pets, camera phones, cinemas and concert venues, music lessons in schools, intergender mixing outside of marriage, places of worship for non-Islamic religions and pornography. The tragically unironically-named Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice enforce these laws rigorously, quashing any resistance to the fabricated bans that are reminiscent of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
There is no logical cause for support for the established regime, other than the fact that millions of years ago, lots of sea creatures died there and were fossilised and compressed into hydrocarbons. There is no case for the al Saud monarch in its current state, or even possibly the existence of the state itself within its colonialist borders that make no real sense.
The argument employed by all the decaying European Absolute Monarchies when the peasants were at the gates of the palace was 'It is how we have always done things, and change only brings chaos'. This is invalid in the modern world, where there is no semi-legitimate excuse for tyranny, and any real debate would result in autocracies dissolving like cubes of of sugar in hot tea.
PotBelliedGeek forfeited this round.
I apologize for the forfeit. Final exams are next week and I am canceling all of my debates. After exams are over I will challenge you to debate the same topic.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Adam2 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used sources to back what he was saying up. Con also forfeited once.
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