Hope with Hamas

This article from a few days ago makes me feel a little better about the new Hamas leadership in Palestine.

They have mulled the works of Dickens and penned agony aunt columns in magazines. They believe the British habit of queuing to be the hallmark of a decent society, and hold fond memories of campus life in the United States.

And yet they have probably racked up more jail time than any other political outfit in the world. They are the 74 freshly minted parliamentarians for the Palestinian militant party Hamas.


For the new Hamas MP Anwar Zboun, 37, political office offers the chance to implement social reforms of a different kind. After studying at Keele University, he concluded that Britain had two great exports for the Palestinians - queues and roundabouts.

"The fact that people queued without complaining showed the respect that British people have for the rights of others," he said. "Our society is chaotic and people do not recognise the rights of others. If we can instil the respect that queuing requires, we can instil a moral basis here."

Sounds awfully like Hayek, doesn't it? The more liberal thought influences the Palestinian political system, the better for everyone.

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People waiting in queues can

People waiting in queues can still kill each other. They could also lobby for more government intervention while standing in a queue.

The Soviet Union is a

The Soviet Union is a counter-example to the "Queues = Civilisation" idea.

- Josh

Both good points, but the

Both good points, but the article refers to the habit of Brits of doing things in a voluntary, civilized way. Try getting on a bus in a third world country vs. in Britain. Being forced to stand in lines is a bad thing; having a basic respect for rules of procedure is a good thing.

To some extent, terrorists

To some extent, terrorists must think of themselves as modern-day revolutionaries, perhaps something (in their minds) along the lines of the American revolution.

But trying to only temporarily endorse random violence, then believe that peace will ensue is a delusion.

I've lived in a third-world

I've lived in a third-world country, and the comment about queueing is dead-on. Standing in line is an unknown custom. Customers are served not in the order of arrival, but in the order that they can push their way to the front of a crowd. Standing in line requires a respect for others that is all too often lacking in undeveloped countries.

The spread of American franchise fast-food restaurants has probably promoted the adoption of the custom of standing in line. And capitalism, of course... both of which are good signs.

That said, the British approach queueing with a somewhat different attitude than Americans do. They seem to actually enjoy it, whereas we hate it. We prefer it to third-world style mobs, of course, but our dislike for standing in line gives profit-seeking companies an incentive to minimize our wait times. It even does the same for government agencies, albeit less efficiently; if the lines are too long at the DMV, we'll bitch and moan about it, and some politician might actually do something about it. The Brits just put up with what we would consider inferior service, and thus are more tolerant of larger and more inefficient government.

The Palestinians would do well to adopt British respect for others and American impatience.

Plus, you know, not blowing people up. That would be a good start.

I think Anwar Zboun was the

I think Anwar Zboun was the guy who said America can "keep its Satanic money", referring to the threat to cut aid. This was in the new Economist. Part of the fear on the part of the state department is that if Hamas doesn't get some money from the US, it will get it somewhere else, in a fashion the US can't control. So don't be surprised if we hear more about Hamas being fundamentalist, violent and evil if they continue to refuse US aid.
This article is a bit uplifting, I agree.