Talking Points for April 10

_45650493_bangkok_ap226In your experience, is democracy a fantasy or a reality? In Algeria, elections are being held, but how likely is it that one of the “little-known” candidates would be able to oust the incumbent President? What kind of democracy is this?

In Moldova, parliament was stormed after the elections brought Communists to power, effectively a coup attempt according to officials.

In Fiji, the constitution has been suspended, and the President will restore democracy after at least 5 years, after certain chages have been made.

In Thailand, some say that the stand off between the ‘red’ and the ‘yellow’s’ could descend into serious civil strife.

There has been chronic instability and 3 prime ministers in Thailand since the last election in 2007. Only one of those was actually elected. Protestors aim to bring down the government for exactly this reason – the current administration was not elected and therefore has no legitimacy.

However, whoever is elected next may be the choice of the majority, but it’s clear that a significant minority are not interested in the democratic choice.

We talked on Wednesday about the right to protest as an essential part of democracy, but isn’t this a case of the choice of the majority being ignored? Or are there some cases where democracy does not work, and the choice of the majority isn’t necessarily in everyone’s best interest?


Three quarters of terror suspects in UK have Pakistani roots according to security services. This week, British police arrested 12 suspects, including 11 Pakistanis, over a “very big terrorist plot”. Earlier this week Pakistani President Zardari said he needed unconditional aid to fight terror: so should he get it? Is Pakistan really the country we should all be worried about, or is the threat overblown?


Immigration: Obama plans to succeed where Bush failed – is it time we all accepted how important immigrant labour is to many economies and showed some respect?

The plight of South Asian workers laid off or unpaid in the Middle East continues.. and everywhere the most vulnerable employees are often immigrants. In the UK, in Japan,

Is the idea of native hosts and guests/ invaders outdated? Or are tougher borders and strict controls needed necessary?

13 Responses to “Talking Points for April 10”

  1. April 10, 2009 at 12:07

    Democracy is a reality. I think the problem most countries have is that they try to be like others instead of evolving a democratic system that is fair and yet practicable in their situation.

  2. April 10, 2009 at 12:40

    I think democracy is real for some countries whereas it is a fantasy for others. Example of democracy been a fantasy is in the case of the government of Algeria decision to amend the constitution to allow Mr Bouteflika to run for a third term in office was a clear sign that they did not want for democracy to be practiced in that part of the world for the moment. Most of the incumbent Presidents rube the people of their will by claiming on to power. The excuse most incumbents gave for this is, they wish to stay on and continue the good works the started. Like all incumbents, I believe there equally many other good candidates/citizens who can continue the plans of their predecessor. So to promote real democracy, I think all incumbents should step down immediately after their term and let the people decide freely who they like to lead them to the next stage.

    Following the issue of terrorist, I believe it is important to curb these activities around the world. The leaders of the free world will have to do this in a common accord. Besides, I think Pakistanis President Zardari should be given aid to fight terror, but with condition that they really try to rout out the breeding grounds of these terrorists. “Attention”, I do not wish for any country to use it as a source of income as it is been done with the issue of PIRACY in Somalia, where they train and send out Pirates to brigand ships off the cost of Somalia.

    Immigration has and continues to be of grave issue in every part of the world, especially in developed countries, even for those who have legal documents. I am in support of Obama’s plan to ease situation for immigrants in that part of the world. Immigrants in developed countries suffer a lot and in fact they usually carryout those jobs in the 3 “D” (dirty, difficult and dangerous) category of labor and yet they are vulnerable to many other human right abuses. The most vulnerable in most of the countries you mentioned above are those of colors. With this, I believe the idea of native hosts and guests/ invaders is outdated and should be disregarded in this 21st century.

  3. 3 deryck /Trinidad
    April 10, 2009 at 13:35

    Wolf in sheep’s clothing. Democracy in some regions is dictatorship in sheep’s clothing because alot of leaders flout the rights of the majority to please a few rich and powerful. Leaders don’t realise that they are elected to serve not Lord over the people. This is one reason why protesters turn violent because they feel that there voices are not being heard and they are not respected.

  4. 4 Hathai Techakitteranun
    April 10, 2009 at 13:52

    In Thailand, the question is not whether or not democracy is simply good or bad, nor is it about a reality or a fantasy, it is about the type of democracy and the approach to such type. On the surface, Thaksin and Samak are two of the five PMs during the troubled time who actually got elected. If democracy is viewed at the face value of having the legitimacy to tule by being elected by the people, then these two were obviously legally and democratically elected. However, looking deeper at the core of the problems, Thaksin’s (now-dissolved) party literally bought off politicians from most other parties, except the Democrat and a few others. He owned the majority of both lower and upper houses, which thereby enabled his party/government to pass new laws enabling their corruptions. Samak headed the newly-formed party founded out of old Thaksin’s members and thereby made him and his government Thaksin’s proxies. Looking at Abhisit, he wasn’t elected by universal suffrage, but by the majority in both lower and upper houses, simply because the situation was critical and there was no time for a general election. Does this make him and his government undemocratic? The protestors claimed that they don’t have to follow the rule of law because there is no (legitimate) government to uphold it. Abhisit responded by asking what their logic is. If they’re trying to push him out of office, doesn’t that mean they already accept the PM’s legal status?
    In my view, Abhisit’s government is as democratic as Thaksin’s and Samak’s, the only difference is that this current government is trying to cure the divide between classes of people. Whereas Thaksin used tactics and technology to interfere. Whose action then is deemed appropriate, reliable, and credible?

  5. 5 Jennifer
    April 10, 2009 at 14:30

    @Showing immigants respect!

    Would you like to talk to my mom? A nurse who overheard a conversation that one of her clients was having on the phone about getting a new ssn because her employer found out her previous one was bogus? That’s not something deserving of respect; identity theft is against the law.

  6. 6 Peter Gizzi UK
    April 10, 2009 at 16:47

    In The UK I feel democracy has died with respect to The European Union. This has been and continues to be forced upon The British people whether they want it or not.

    Our 3 main political parties are pro-European Union making our parliament effectively a one party dictatorship.

    The Irish People voted “No” to The Lisbon Treaty but were ignored, being told instead to vote again with the answer The European Union wants. Sounds like Mugabe?

    If The European Union were truly democratic they should have dumped The Lisbon Treaty and insisted all member countries hold referenda on whether the people who pay for it wished to continue as members. They should also insist that all treaties be put to the people in referenda.

    It sickens me as a tax paying pensioner that I have to pay for The European Union but get nothing in return, and struggle to make ends meet.

    Finally The European Parliament can be overuled by The European Comission making them highly paid plastic puppets and Jose Manuel Barosso The European union’s Dictator.

  7. April 10, 2009 at 23:32

    Everybody is entitled to his opinion but I strongly believe that no matter how bad a democratic system might be in a country, there is definitely no better known system. What countries and citizens have to do is to take their destinies into their own hands and do all that is possible to entrench their conception of democracy in a non-violent way. After all, Obama did not become the president of the USA in a single day. It takes time, commitment, and strategic planning to achieve true democracy in a country, especially when the concept is alien to the people concerned.

  8. 8 Jim Newman
    April 12, 2009 at 00:15

    Hello again
    I agree completely with Peter Gizzi. Our democracy is a Ford democracy ‘they can have any colour they like as long as it’s black’.
    When a governement is democratically elected it is because of their explicit program. If that governement acts outside of the program upon which they were elected then their action should be subject to a referendum. Otherwise the country is subjected to an elected dictatorship. This was clear during the run up to the agression on Iraq.
    Neither the British nor the Italian nor the Spanish populations supported the agression against Iraq but the lacky governements complied with the americans anyway.
    The european commision should be abolished and Barosso and his colleagues should be charged with complicity in crimes against humanity because of their blind following of the leadership of the USA.
    I am a convinced european but we have a long way to go before Europe becomes really Europoean.
    For me the only security for democracy is the application of referenda when the intentions of the elected governement fall outside of the of the will of the people.

  9. 9 Jim Newman
    April 12, 2009 at 00:28

    Hello again
    As far as democracy is practiced today it has no value at all.And the claims of the squatters in Palestine that they can do whatever they want in the name of democracy is pure hypocritical cynicism.

  10. 10 Maheswari
    April 12, 2009 at 11:38

    Democracy is a reality… Most of the countries once craved for democracy because they suffered either from monarchy or dictatorship in those days.. But, now democracy has now lost its taste.. its not used fully.. In some countries democracy itself has left way to dictatorship.. If democracy is utilised properly the developing countries can improve a lot..

  11. 11 Cayden
    April 12, 2009 at 18:51

    Democracy is a scam. We will never be free as long as governments exist.

  12. 12 globalcomedy
    April 13, 2009 at 04:21

    Democracy can be a good thing. Then again, it depends on your definition of “democracy.”

    In the case of the States, usually it’s them imposing “American democracy” on others. Why? Is it only for the benefit of other countries? No. In many cases it’s also to maintain our economic (and in some cases) militiary power.

    The truth is, not everybody wants “American democracy.” It has everything from unchecked capitalism to no universal health care. The sooner people realize that, maybe the easier things will be globally?

  13. April 13, 2009 at 10:52

    Democracy,like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: