'Nothing is more powerful than idea....'
Noteworthy French poet Victor Hugo truly glorifies "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Undeniably it is the idea that has since time immemorial changed the world's face. I cannot profess if the time of a new idea has reached. But I can feel that the world is badly in need of a change. I cannot say whether the time of thinking an alternative to democracy as a world system is inevitable. But I can say no man introduced establishment or concept is everlasting. Change is the course of history. History walks its own way of ups and downs and will continue to do so leaving its footmark behind as long as the civilization exists in this planet. Good news about democracy for now is heard nowhere in the world for long. Sometimes question appears in mind, is democracy failing to match the pace of time.
Every year certain international right bodies and institutions on the basis of data and statistics collected from various sources prepare annual reports on global situation of democracy a process considered as the driving force of modern world order.
The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), a UK magazine lately unleashed Democracy Index 2018. Comprising 165 countries the 10 points index focuses mainly on issues such as: electoral system, effectiveness of government, political participation, political culture and citizen's right. With Norway topping and North Korea hitting the bottom of the index, Bangladesh ranks 92 falling much short of its earlier stand at 84 in 2016.
Interestingly the picture of democracy is frustrating in the countries themselves those prepare these indexes and sermonize world on the ground of ethics, morality and humanity; those shout for rule of law, national safety, territorial integrity and religious harmony. What about USA? Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'dream' is yet to come true. Apparitions of apartheid have caused lives there in the recent years. Economically and politically important places of Europe were shattered by series of Terrorist attacks. What message did the Brexit send to us?
Amid these crises faced by the democratic world, China a pure socialist establishment is trying utmost to organize world opinion in support of her own system of governance. With China's rise in the world stage as an economic and military stalwart question started coming forward if democracy would be inevitable for the future world. In fact it cannot be firmly said that democracy is the last highway for the advance of mankind.
If we take into account such reports of democracy index of last 10 consecutive years we can see a declining trend of democracy, more or less in almost every part of the world. Regrettably no major concern is being voiced over such crisis across the world. Consequently countries those were already authoritarian are becoming more authoritarian and countries where democracy was weak, authoritarianism is taking deep root there. In this situation attempts to legitimize the theory of 'less democracy and more development' in some countries are holding water.
Undeniably the period of authoritarian rule is longer than that of democratic rule in the history of governance in human civilization. The million dollar question is if that repressive method of rule is returning further to replace democracy. It cannot be said with conviction that symptoms and preconditions of that's being reinstated are not nascent.
The reality under present geo-strategic landscape is that global influence of democratic super powers is in decline. On the other hand regional powers under existing geo-strategic compulsion are prioritizing regional considerations to define their domestic and external equations.
Healthy growth of democracy means presence of liberalism everywhere in life. Unfortunately a tacit change is happening in the liberal attitude of countries once known as pure democracy. The US and the western powers once labelled as the lighthouse of democracy are day by day drawing back from their vocal role. In fact their preaching of democracy had earlier not been cleanly moved with good will and noble intention. It cannot be blown away that a selfish and opportunistic motive worked behind their role.
In the name of establishing democracy the way the US and its western allies are waging ruthless war in the Middle East including Afghanistan and Libya is an utter paradox to their role of containing communism by supporting dictators during Cold War.
Democracy is a total factor. Merely partial practice of it within the boundary of some specific countries cannot ensure its universal guarantee. For its proper functioning a coherent environment irrespective of territorial border is a must. Those who are anxious about Bangladesh's democracy can find some solace if they look into the overall situation of democracy.
The writer is a poet