Today, a substantial list of countries are in the process of defining brand new constitutions or significantly revising existing ones. In the near future, several more countries may be added. Many are former Arab dictatorships turned democratic through more or less violent revolutions. Democracies, however, come in many flavors and one particularly bitter-sweet variant is the one where some elements of democracy are retained while others are not. Freedoms such as religious beliefs, speech and opinions, for example. Unfortunately, a majority of the countries busy writing up new constitutions, seem to gravitate towards just that form of “democracy”.
The question is: can democracy exist without basic human rights?
The UN is dysfunctional to the point of being counter productive. Anyone who takes an even cursory look at what goes on in the clubhouse of the UN knows that while the body officially stands on a “rock solid” base of democratic principles, universal human rights and peaceful co-existence between members, the reality is quite another. The list of members and signatories to fundamental UN charters presently counts more than 160. However, several dozen aren’t even trying to maintain any pretense of abiding to the promises they have so solemnly signed.
The UN was founded on the ashes of the League of Nations, itself built on the get-together called the Paris Peace Conference – a child of WW-I. Before that, the list of alliances to promote specific sets of ideas and values is as long as the toilet roll desired by many gastro stricken historians.
The question is: Are we ready to stand up for our version of democracy with its foundation of human rights and freedoms? At what point will the divergence of ideas and values within the UN make it untenable to renew our membership? How far must we venture into hypocrisy land and how severe an erosion of our values do we accept before enough is enough?
Who would like to co-sponsor the idea of a new body: “The United Democratic Nations”? (suggestions for a better name are welcome) Anyone can apply but unlike the UN of a previous century there will be no quasi automatic printing of membership cards. Read the rest …