July 12, 2012

Democracy calls for players, not spectators!

When I posted recently asking readers to let’s begin a dialogue on the issues I present on my blog so that we could hope to generate some suggestions as solutions for creating a harmonious society in Maldives, a respondent quipped, "Sattar, social harmony in Maldives? Keep on dreaming!". This was a sad response indeed, for it indicated the grave state of cynicism our nation has dipped into. He is perhaps not alone in this sentiment but maybe it is a reflection of the collective chaos that is undermining the very fabric of our society. The endless and raucous street protests that seem to never end that frustrate parents because they cannot put their children to bed or have safe streets to walk them to school, the tired security forces who have to contend with the ongoing anger day in and day out and be patient to the demands and abuse of protesters, and a national executive that has to grapple with the confusion and allegations of a political fiasco that brought them to power, the truth of which is still to be unraveled, are elements of our present social and political system that need serious consideration by a responsible public.

Prolonged protests are a sign that there is pervasive discontentment with the framework of our present governance. The democratic process we all ushered in has certainly not brought in the dividends – some say as yet - we hoped for. At lest 90 percent of Maldivians want peace and harmony; not anger and turmoil. Investigation by a sober sector of our society, as to why this is so, is urgently needed, and the powers that be need to allow the space for such assessments to happen. It cannot let the sentiments of the masses be hijacked by the desires of a minority who may wish such chaos to persist for whatever windfalls they may reap from the results of societal disruption.

Unfortunately, our polity also seems ignorant of the fact that we are the players rather than mere spectators in a system we called in as democracy. By siding with parties that have no guiding philosophies or moral principles to back them, we are merely following pied-piper-like leaders who may trail us down to our own drowning. The situation is that of letting our vanity and greed sway us, through untenable promises or enticing largesse they offer, being the luring tune that makes us follow. It should not be that way. We are human being into whom God had inspired the power of thought and reflection. Being such vicegerents of this earth how can we be behaving in such decadent ways in what seem to be cutting the proverbial nose to spite the face.

The debacle at home can only be addressed not by being carried away with the masses of protests and inflamed feelings against each other -- that can only bring further chaos and a hardening of our selfish motives -- but by taking this time left for the next election to understand our individual role in a democracy and thoughtfully deciding on the next leaders that will help put this nation right. By general logic, wrong doers of the past cannot suddenly become good doers for the future especially with the glittering spoils of a nation at hand’s reach of such people in positions of authority. We need to bring in humility, fear and love of God into our hearts and seek to understand that we are not spectators in the spectacle of life. In the frenzy of our mob-based emotions we may indeed be forgetting that we are destroying the nation of peace that our forefathers created and that the world knew just about 10 years ago as one of the most peaceful corners of the world. Our leaders cannot waste a moment of their power and authority without being responsible for the chaos they generate by misplaced priorities, tardiness or inaction. 


Anonymous said...

Very interesting post.
I have been here for about three weeks now and almost every night, people have been gathering on the roads to protest for an immediate election. Infact I am not even sure what exactly they have been gathering on the roads for. Local businesses have been jeopardized and it is creating so much havoc on the roads from early evening to later hours.
I strongly believe in voicing our opinions but the way people are doing this on the roads of Male' in my opinion is not the way to go because absolutely nothing has been achieved so far. People must really think before they act and stop following people on to the roads and engaging in such uncivilised behavior. Most of the people who go on to the roads are merely spectators who want to be in on the happenings around them.
The most important thing in a small country like this is to bring in harmony and peace especially when it nears the holy month of Ramazan.
It is time we start thinking ahead into the remaining months until the next election and make a better choice than what was made before.

Abdul Sattar Yoosuf said...

All very sad indeed for our nation; perhaps our perception of democracy is flawed; for any truly positive outcome, such remonstrations need to be tempered with a show of responsibility too. In a democracy, it is only too frequently that the raucous few create the havoc we can do without. And yes, let's pray for peace in Ramazan.