Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perils of nascent democracy

Transition from dictatorship to democracy is a painful process. It is also very costly in terms of sacrifice of precious lives. Events in Iraq, Egypt and Libya are too recent to forget.

The present international crisis over a film produced by a madcap brings centrestage the travails of any fledgling  democracy. The TIME magazine argues:

"Before the Arab Spring, this chain of events would likely have been stopped early. Dictators like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Libya's Gaddafi either blocked internet access to prevent their people from seeing inflammatory material (among other things) or used their security agencies to crack down on protests long before they could reach critical mass. ----------- The tendency of democratically elected governments has been to look the other way and hope the demonstrators run out of steam. It doesn't always work."

Well said. However, it is neither desirable nor practical to get back to despotism. But we need to be constantly aware that a true democracy asymmetrically pits  law-constrained government against lawless thugs. Democracy demands patience and stoicism to bear unpredictable strains.

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