Dēmokratía!

(Dêmos; people) and (kratos; power)! Two Greek words existed for thousands of years and more years yet to come. When put together, Demokratia; Democracy is coined. “Power to the people” or “Rule of the people”; both the literal meaning for such a political practice. Cleisthenes once introduced an oath stating: “To advise according to the laws what was best for the people”. Aristotle; the Greek polymath then said “democracy is the form of government in which… the free are the many and the rich are the few”. This highlights a paradox of democracy in that it attempts to be equal to all, yet often the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer, and a growing wealth gap will certainly impact governance.

Thousands of years after, and specifically in 2007, the UN resolved to observe 15 September as the International Day of Democracy. The resolution acknowledged that: “while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region…democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life”.
Usually, the drive behind democracy is to inhibit the accumulation of too much authority in the hands of one or a certain group. It reposes on a stable relation between giving enough power for what Alexander Hamilton called “vigorous and energetic government” and avoiding giving out so much power that it becomes abused. On the other hand Winston Churchill once described it as the “least bad” form of government.

However, by looking at the world around us we find that till this very moment, democracy is a concept that is both; misunderstood and misused. This is mainly observed in some parts of the world where authoritarian regimes and autocracies have witnessed popular support by usurping democratic labels as in Pakistan or Iraq. Democracy entails constitutional reforms, citizenship, communal cooperation, and respect for human rights. As argued in “Building Democracy in Iraq”, and as the possibility of a transition increases, there should be a detailed analysis of the options for a constitutional process and the establishment of inclusive democracy in a post-totalitarian Iraq. There have to be many issues taken into consideration; the need to establish those features that are essential to a genuinely democratic society, including fair representation, cooperation between communities, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Building up on this, this report offers a set of “necessities” for structuring complete democracy in Iraq, based on the sovereignty of Iraq’s people

The international day of democracy should be a “deed” rather than a “slogan”. In order to intensify the meaning of “democracy”, it has to be practiced in favor of the “world”. It is an “international day” for raising public awareness about democracy and its values. Celebrating this day should account for adopting practical measures on the ground, cheering and jeering with no concrete implementation is more of an impudent attempt that totally hampers all democracy endeavors. More resolutions in favor of “democratization” should be enforced by the UN and other governing bodies. All nations around the globe should be equally questioned in hearing sessions; if proven of any hideous attempts, with no exceptions whatsoever. The parody of “major powers” and their so-called “democracy bombings” must be explicitly criticized and condemned. Bombing and nuking nations in the name of democracy is being justified by major powers. What is democratic in this? How would even democracy be linked to such an interpretation? Will democracy thrive in such a chaotic atmosphere? Sounds legit!

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One Response to Dēmokratía!

  1. Democracy should be a “deed” rather than a “slogan”… Very well said. But then again how to poise the balance of powers? How can you make sure not to create an authoritarian parallel regime? How can you make sure – using the same phrase as yours- cheering and jeering- does not influence the public opinion for short term change and impede the longer term path for democratization… How can you oversee the ‘power to the people’ without the camouflage ??? All questions…..

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