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Kurdish legal consultant, writer and journalist Chiman Salih discusses what is wrong with today’s democracies throughout the world.
Bashar al-Assad Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
I heard that the most perfidious man in the world, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who inherited the throne from his father and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of his own people, was talking about democracy. During his last meeting with the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, he demanded that the fate of the Kurds in Syria be determined by a state-wide referendum. With Assad’s history, it sounds like he was making a joke. How can he talk about a democratic solution to the problem when he has murdered thousands of his own people? His statement could be interpreted as both funny and sad and that is why I think it’s important to point out the doomed democracies all over the world.
What we are observing now in the world is just so-called democracy. Democracy is no longer a government of the people, by the people, for the people as Abraham Lincoln defined it. All over the world, we can see different kinds of “democracies” that are leading to the term’s deviation. There are dozens of examples we can easily observe.
In my opinion, the problem is that democracy has lost its allies in favor of its enemies. The economy and the media were the best allies of democracy. In earlier times, the systems in the world were divided between democracies and dictatorships. But now all of the governments are calling themselves a democracy even though there is no democracy in their form as defined by their creators.
Now, the economy, businesses and companies are after only financial benefits and superiority. They control the governments and media and the most powerful organizations are intervening in everything unlike before.
In addition, the media because of globalization and the era of digital media and HD is very powerful and now one of the decision makers. The media is one of the best mind diggers of the people. It is no longer searching to defend the people’s interest like before. It’s now not just searching for chaos but triggering chaos, misleading the people in order to attract a greater audience.
The globalization made it easy for most people to find out about the suffering caused by these dysfunctional democratic-called systems. The extent of the suffering depends on the influence and the solidity of the existing institution in that place. For example, in the Middle East, we do not have a lot of powerful institutions so the range is greater. In Western societies, they have powerful institutions to this day so the range is different.
But this dysfunctional system is a worldwide problem. Take a look at the US. Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee. This man takes everything cynically although he might one day hold the button of world-wide war and peace at his finger.
There is a lot of corruption in the world both in the East and the West. I am not going to compare the two regions. There cannot really be a comparison. I only intend to say that while democracy is ill everywhere, the illness is different and so is the capacity for remedy. I completely agree that the difference between the two is massive.
The world should be thinking about returning back to real democracy for the people. The relevant international institutions should announce this. A new global system needs to take shape. The system should put limitations on powers, governments, states, organizations, media, people, companies, firms, groups and more.