Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, October 25th, 2020

Why Our Democracy Stuck in History?

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Why Our Democracy Stuck in History?

Democracy is the most prominent political feature of modern political systems considered as the most important sign of political development in any country. Today, given the phenomenon of globalization and the multiplicity of interactions between governments and human societies, the discourse of democracy is so ingrained in the minds of the people that it is impossible to oppose it openly, and even the most dictatorial countries resorting themselves to it to avoid internal and external pressures. Nevertheless, it is unsurprising in Afghanistan to hear that many Afghan citizens have been killed or lost their fingers due to participation in a democratic process. It is also unsurprising that the world supper power with its allies could oust the Taliban regime within two months in 2001 with less than 3,000 troops, but they failed to institutionalize democracy in Afghanistan largely because the bed and culture of democracy was not ready in the country. Let’s analyze this issue with some examples. Have we ever had the opportunity to think about why the extremist clergies, from all walks of life, end up feeling close to each other standing firm against people and government of Afghanistan ignoring voices for peace and justice. Perhaps a defining reason is that “they have studied common texts and grown in a common culture.” They have studied the same books, treatises, literature and common concepts. Even if they disagree, they have normalized the mechanisms of interaction and tolerance among themselves.
In the same way, democracy requires its own texts, literature and concepts. It is not reasonable to expect democratic behavior from those who were trained in the medieval educational center which is extremely undemocratic. In other countries this culture and literature has been created and refined, and has become the intellectual link between elites. Let’s give another example about Marxism in Soviet Union. the Soviet history shows that Marxism not only shaped the minds of members of the Soviet Communist Party, but was engraved in universities, the press, industry, scientists and even ordinary citizens. The common texts and concepts intertwined all the mechanisms of a social, economic, and political system. The same experience began in Western Europe and North America with Jean Boden theories (1530-1596) and continues to evolve with the pervasive theories of current scholars. Although democracy offers a variety of applications in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the United States, it has common ground and concepts in most of these countries.
Although democracy has had many ups and downs in most self-governing countries, they eventually end up with establishment of successful democratic system. For example, in Europe, the history of democratization began with ending the last authoritarian regimes of Europe fell apart in the 1970s and then followed with major developments in this direction during the last four decades. Let’s share some more examples from each part of the world to say that everyone has crossed from ups and downs of democratization except us. The Greece which is considered the cradle of democracy where most democratic  ideas and practices first blossomed more than two thousand years ago, experienced a military coup in 1967 but in 1974 as the result of a far and wide student movement which grew into a nationwide resistance,  the military oligarchy lost control of the country and consequently gave up power, and democratic procedures were restored.
The Poland communist authorities were pressured into holding competitive elections in September 1989, the first free elections held in that country since the 1920’s. The communist candidates lost the elections and their pro-democracy rivals won victory, a result that accelerated the adoption of more formal democratic procedures and institutions in the 1990’s. in East German, the communist authorities opened the Berlin wall the barrier which divided West Berliners from the east Berliners, in November 1989, under the people‘s Pressure; and shortly after the East Germans joined the Federal Republic of Germany which was a democratic state.
The authoritarian regimes of Romania and Bulgaria were also compelled to give up power in 1989. In Hungry in 1990 the totalitarian government of this country was also ousted and a democratic government was established. And in the same year the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which had been under authoritarian rule of the Union for over Seventy years collapsed under the pressure of people’s movement and soon broke up into a number of independent countries. And in Ukraine, in 2004, an “Orange Revolution” began after massive election fraud in round two of the presidential elections was discovered. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians came into the streets of Kyiv and, after weeks of protests, a rejected reform candidate, Viktor yushchenko, was elected president. Ukraine’s revolution was the third in a string of what became known as “colored revolutions”, beginning with Serbia in the year 2000 and Georgia   in 2003. Following Ukraine, revolutions took place in Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon. And other places.
In Indonesia, President Suharto’s resignation in the midst of his country’s financial and political crisis in 1998 led to parliamentary elections the following year, the first since the 1950’s. Opponents of the regime won the upper hand, resulting in the assembly’s election late in the year. In Iran a revolutionary movement led to the downfall of the regime of the Shah of Iran who had assumed dictatorial powers after a coup in 1953 overthrowing the democratically elected government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh. The Shah fled the country in 1979 and elections were held the same year.

And in Africa, South Africa which had been governed for decades by a white minority that refused to grant political rights to blacks and other non- whites, was force to allow blacks to vote for the first time in 1994. The result was the election of   Nelson Mandela a black leader who had spent twenty- seven years in prison for his opposition to white supremacy, to the presidency of the country’s first multiracial government. Elections were also held, in some cases for the first time, in such other countries as Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique Niger, in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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