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Democracy is a good idea – Mark Ulyseas
On June 28th my eldest brother crossed the prime meridian of life and death and with it returned memories of an intellectual who taught me to question everything…never to accept an idea without dissecting its form and purpose.
“I believe Gandhi is the only person who knew about real democracy – not democracy as the right to go and buy what you want, but democracy as the responsibility to be accountable to everyone around you. Democracy begins with freedom from hunger, freedom from unemployment, freedom from fear, and freedom from hatred. To me, those are the real freedoms on the basis of which good human societies are based.” ― Vandana Shiva
Recently I watched a TV programme that discussed the issue of taking democracy to countries that were deemed to be ‘undemocratic’, whatever this means. Of course the list of the usual suspects was called out much to the delight of Muslim baiters in the audience. When the uncouth display by these zealots was firmly put down by the moderator, sanity returned. The discussion veered from the unnatural borders of countries (an ugly inheritance from the colonial days) to imposition of alien cultural values on a country in the form of democratic processes couched in the insistence that individual rights is paramount to being free… free being the operative word here. This word has been used threadbare and has now lost its meaning.
What is democracy? What does it represent? Does it represent a culture? Or, is it an utopian concept that is still being tried and tested? And can one size fits all work in a multicultural world where thousands of communities survive in hierarchical social setups that have stood the test of time; until of course when confronted by alien notions of right and wrong, which is usually promoted by one religion or another.
Did the aborigines need democracy before their land was occupied and their vibrant ethos dismantled by those seeking to civilise the ‘natives’, to set them free from the bondage of their culture?
Did the Native American Indians need democracy before settlers took over their lands and put them into reservations like animals?
One suspects that those who shout from the rooftops about democratic ideals are the ones who perpetrate a fraud on humanity. For they use this banner to infiltrate and destroy ancient societies. Democracy, as one sees it, cannot be ‘imposed’ because it threatens the core social values within close knit communities where each member of the group has a preordained function or job to serve the community as a whole, like bees that work in tandem to collect honey and build a hive.
The lead characters that carry the banner of democracy can themselves be accused of using it as a sword to dismember nations, to bring down legally elected representatives of the people and to create confusion for narrow political objectives. Their brothers in arms are the burgeoning band of human rights activists, many of whom have agendas to deliberately spread misinformation about a people or country so as to internationally discredit either or both. This is followed by sanctions with the aim of bringing the targeted people or country under control for reasons that are both political and economic…and in some cases, religious.
Major human rights violations have been on the rise in the world’s leading democracies. Such news is generally non news for the parochial news media. The Occupy Movement was criminally shutdown by democratic states because it represented democratic ideals…to protest against an elected government’s actions and/or in actions. This defeats the very purpose of democracy.
Democracy is the consent by the majority of the populace of matters related to the social contract and it has to be in sync with the aspirations of all those concerned. Every member/citizen is a share holder in a democracy.
Such a situation does not exist.
However, democracy is a good idea…nothing more.
Here is a quote on democracy from Mahatma Gandhi that sums it up : “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
01 August 2014