by Hassan Ajami *
It is plausible to analyze democracy, tyranny, and terrorism in light of communication and exchange of information. In this article, we will show how this paradigm of analysis is successful in explaining different aspects of democracy, tyranny and terrorism.
Democracy is a highly moral communication process aiming at producing, transmitting and sharing the maximum amount of accurate information. In this sense, democracy is defined in terms of communication. And thus, this is the communication paradigm of democracy. In this paradigm, democracy is a communication system that aims to transmit the maximum amount of true information to each citizen. This is because through providing the maximum amount of accurate information to each and every citizen, the freedom of each citizen will be maximized, given that one thinks, decides and behaves in light of the information one possesses.
In other words, when one has the maximum amount of true information, one gains the freedom to choose among different and useful information, and thus one becomes free. This is how democracy guarantees for each citizen the possession of maximum freedom. If people do not possess the maximum amount of true information, then they will lose their freedom to act in light of true information. This is why democracy is a communication pattern aiming at transmitting the maximum amount of accurate information to each citizen.
From the same perspective, democracy maintains equality through equally distributing the maximum amount of true information among its citizens. This is because when people share the same amount of information, they become equal in a certain sense, and equally fit to survive in different circumstances. In this sense, democracy is also a survival mechanism. All of this shows that democracy is a system of freedom and equality due to the fact that democracy is a communication process that aims to develop, transmit and share the maximum amount of genuine information.
While democracy is a communication pattern aiming at maximizing information, tyranny is a communication pattern that aims to minimize information. This is why the different domains of science, humanities and arts, which maximize information, flourish in democracies, while in tyrannies they do not. And since dictatorships are communication patterns aiming at minimizing and / or eradicating information, it follows that citizens in dictatorships possess the minimum amount of information or no information at all, leading everyone to lose one's freedom. A person without information is a person without free choice and thus without freedom. Tyrannies oppress their citizens and enslave them through not providing them with the maximum genuine information. And a society without maximum and accurate information is a failure. This is how dictators destroy their societies in order to strengthen their power. The difference between democracy and tyranny is a difference in communication. And the conflict between democracy and tyranny is a conflict between sharing information and not doing so. Human history is a history of gathering and handling information.
Furthermore, terrorism is a crime against humanity because it is an actual killing of innocent civilians. And it is also a communication process. In fact, terrorism is an immoral communication pattern aiming at transmitting certain messages. Sometimes these messages are explicit, while, at other times, they are implicit. Some Arabs and Muslims committed some terrorist attacks, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S. And some basic explicit and implicit messages entailed in these attacks are the following:
The U.S. and the West, in general, should not interfere in the internal affairs of the Arabs and Muslims, the U.S. and the West should not support Israel and the Arab dictators, the existence of Western military bases in the Arab-Islamic world is not acceptable, and the Palestinian problem should be solved, such that the Palestinians should be freed from the Israeli occupation and should be able to establish their own independent state.
This is how terrorist attacks are communication patterns that aim to transmit certain explicit and implicit messages.
Terrorist attacks cannot successfully achieve any military victory against any country because they do not occupy any foreign land, and they do not usually attack foreign armies. So the question is: why do terrorist attacks occur in the first place?.
The answer resides in the communication paradigm of terrorism. Given the fact that terrorist attacks are highly defective in gaining any military victory, it follows that the only explanation of why they occur is that they do occur in order to transmit certain messages. This is the best explanation of why they occur in light of the fact that they fail in maintaining any military victory. Terrorism captures the headlines of the world's media, and thus the terrorists guarantee the transmission of their messages. This is essentially how terrorism is a communication process.
All of this shows that the solution to the problem of terrorism is to provide true democracies to each and everyone, such that everyone will be able to freely express one's beliefs, aspirations and messages to the rest of the world. Only then will there be no need for the emergence of any terrorist activity, given that every person will be able to transmit his or her messages without relying on terrorism.
* Hassan Ajami is a Lebanese American author and freelance journalist. He had published twenty books in Arabic, the latest of which is entitled “The Philosophy of Humanism”. He also published four books in English, such as “A Short Philosophical and Poetic Journey”, and “A Lost Sufi: Philosophical Poems”.