Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

February 25, 2006

Nigeria challenges youths on democracy

Vice President Atiku Abubakar has challenged youths in the country to protect the foundation of democracy.

The vice president was speaking at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received a coalition of youths from across the northern part of the country urged the group, consisting of professionals, businessmen and political activists, urging them to remain steadfast and propagate party discipline and respect for the rule of 1aw.

“I urge you to remain one and united for a better Nigeria,” he said.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mr Danjuma Maina, had said they were in the State House to identify with the achievements and aspirations of the vice president.
He also commended the efforts of the administration in reducing the level of corruption in the country.
The delegation also assured the vice president of their preparedness to join hands in constructing’ ‘bridges between the old and the new, between North and South and to help instil into our future leaders the noble dream of our founding fathers.”

Some of the groups in the coalition include: National Democracy Movement, Global Youth Network Africa, National Youth Council of Nigeria, National Youth Alliance for Democracy, Atiku Youth Initiative, Al’Umma Development Association and Consolidation Atiku.
Others are National Grassroot Mobilisation Initiative, Atiku Abubakar Vanguard and the National Association of Northern Nigerian Students.

Full article.

February 19, 2006

Western democracy

The Western democracies, so keen on exporting their political model to the rest of the world, seem to be perfecting the art of shooting themselves in the foot, and I'm not even going to mention the war in Iraq.

The cartoon affair which showed up Danish democracy as religiously illiterate at the onset and by last week's end defensively bigoted was preceded only two weeks earlier by President Jacques Chirac of France boldly announcing that any (presumably Islamic) nation that supported groups that tried to use terrorism and weapons of mass destruction against France should expect a nuclear riposte.

In an age when a terrorist group could at best detonate a so-called "dirty bomb", conventional explosives wrapped around some stolen nuclear waste and kill at most a thousand people, or biological weapons like the anthrax letters that killed all of half a dozen people in the U.S. four years' ago, this was showing a European democracy at its most tendentious not to say callous and barbaric.

Democracies seem presently so intent on revealing an ugly side that, unless one absorbed it with one's mother's milk as most westerners have, present practice might dissuade one for all time.

More from Wanabehuman.

February 08, 2006

Where is American Democracy heading?

Where are we headed, as a people? Are we on our way to the Distopia Orwell wrote about, in which people are carefully controlled and uniform, and the one party government is life? In which there is no dissent, because the language to express dissent has been taking away, and in which art and love have virtually ceased to exist?

We are all a product of the government we were raised in. Many of those shocked by Watergate are apathetic about politics because of living through the corruption. Many of their kids will be the same, for there is no example to remind them that this government is THEIRS, THEY are its hope, and without THEM, there is no true democracy.

Many of those shocked by George W. Bush's crimes will turn away, or worse, they will not know. For what the government and the media tell them, they will believe, even if it contradicts what they might have thought.

As a great lover of music, my mind turns to the masters of modern music, in particular Dmitri Shostakovich, my idol. He lived all but 11 years of his life in Communist Russia, was hailed as a great Soviet composer, and wrote music for many governmental functions. You might say he was the model artisan of that regime. Yet he was scolded and shamed publically TWICE for his "lack of patriotism". Year's after his death, people hunted through his music, and some see pieces of sadness, and dissent buried in that perfect facade of support.

Is this what we will be reduced to as well? Stubbornly hidden hints of doubt behind American Unity that overrides all?

Full article.

February 06, 2006

Washington's Calls for Democracy Exposed

The US, self-styled promoter of democracy in the Middle East, is threatening to punish the Palestinian people for exercising their democratic rights.

The United States is spearheading pressure on international donors alarmed by the win of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections to cut off aid. Washington, in effect, is threatening to bankrupt the future Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA).

Some analysts think Hamas can survive the new onslaught though US threats, if fulfilled, will drain the aid money that has sustained the Palestinians for the past few years.

The World Bank estimates that foreign donors gave the PA $1.1 billion in 2005, about half the PA's budget. Washington says it contributed $400 million in direct aid, and several million more through UN charities, to the PA last year.

The majority of US funding, however, goes not to the PA directly but is filtered through US and local non-governmental organisations and contractors. It is used for capacity building, to promote democratic reform and economic liberalisation, to empower women and finance higher education.

International financial institutions, like the World Bank, report that even with foreign aid nearly one-half of all Palestinians live below the poverty line and as many as 600,000 people are unable to meet their basic needs in food, clothing and shelter. Such facts could not matter less in the US, which was so visibly "shocked" and "awed" by the Hamas win that some officials argue that Washington's only possible response should be to sever all aid.

Washington argues that it does not see how it can help fund an organisation that has not renounced armed struggle against Israel, its main ally in the Middle East. Hamas says it will continue to fight Israel as long as it occupies Arab land, an issue that gets scant attention here. The loudest sabre-rattling came from the corridors of Congress, where Israel lobbyists are most active. Senator John Thune introduced a non-binding resolution calling for an end to US assistance to the PA if the ruling majority party within the Palestinian Legislative Council insists on the right to take up arms as a means to liberate Palestinian land.

Full article.