Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

The Way to Democracy

Democracy is considered to be the best form of government, but it is also the most difficult to attain. History shows that though democratic system of government was formed in many countries, it failed in several of them and ultimately turned into something close to dictatorship. Therefore, it is important to comprehend that there are certain conditions that must be achieved and maintained by the societies to acquire true democracy.
Enlightened citizens are the most important prerequisite for democracy. In fact, democracy and enlightened citizenship go together. In democracy, the citizens must be alert and enlightened or properly educated. They should be motivated and aware enough to participate actively in public affairs. They should ready to stand firm for their rights and resist any infringement on their freedom. Simultaneously, they should pursue their duties honestly. They should consider their selfish interests secondary to national or collective interests. They must be helpful, unselfish and nationalistic.
Closely linked to active citizenship is the character and capability of the common masses. It is basically the character, attitudes and behavior of the common men that take democracy towards a success or a failure. In democracy, common men must be sufficiently interested in public affairs and must comprehend them. They must not be won over by emotions. Then again, their opinion, to a certain extent, should be based on sound practical ruling, broad-mindedness and unselfish devotion to public welfare. They should actively participate in the affairs of the government of his country. A democratic government is well-maintained through active criticism. Therefore, every citizen must be ready to protest and criticize the injustice and tyranny of the government, for democracy thrives when the people are eloquent; it breathes its last when they are dumb and voiceless. Furthermore, the people should be ready to fulfil their functions in minor spheres of life with eagerness, honesty and skill. Every man should be keenly interested in the welfare and happiness of his fellow-men and ready to help overcome the difficulties. In other words, civic sense is a necessary condition for the success of democracy.
It has been justly believed that the price of democracy is eternal vigilance. A democratic society demands much from its citizens. The people should be alert, vigilant and active in order to preserve their democratic institutions and enjoy their rights and liberty. When the people are indifferent, inactive and indolent in public matters, crafty politicians, clever demagogues, rich plutocrats and such other enterprising persons capture political power and abuse it for their selfish ends.
Along with vigilance and intelligence, democracy needs a spirit of tolerance and a sense of responsibility among all its citizens. Tolerance and the spirit of give and take are essential for democracy. Democracy is necessarily a rule of the majority. But if the minority party or parties are irreconcilably opposed to the laws and policy laid down by the ruling majority, democracy would fail to work; hence the need for tolerance or a spirit of give and take. It relies on the methods of peaceful persuasion. It presumes an agreement on fundamentals acceptable to all citizens, whether they belong to the majority or minority parties. They may agree to disagree but not to disunite. Democracy is in daily practice the acceptance by the minority of the majority rule.
Education is indeed the first requisite for the success of democracy. Education is necessary to make common citizens good, intelligent, honest, active, responsible, public-spirited, tolerant and vigilant of their rights and duties. Education, at least, up to secondary level should be free, universal and compulsory and should be such as to equip the citizens for the performance of their civic duties and responsibilities. Democracies demand not only the passive consent of the citizen but also his active and constant participation and cooperation which should be the end of a democratic educational system. It must make him thoughtful, intelligent and critical person who would be bold enough to criticize the government, tolerant of the views of his opponents and honest enough not to abuse public office for selfish ends.
Democracy requires organization and leadership. Indeed, the problem of organization and leadership is more urgent for democracy than for other forms of government; firstly, because modern democracies are vast and complex societies, and, secondly because democracy is inherently a government by and for common men and women. Ordinarily, common citizens are neither adequately educated nor sufficiently interested in public affairs and problems. They also do not have enough time or leisure to devote themselves to public matters. Hence the need is to inform and educate them, to arouse their interest and to organize them for public action. This important task is performed by political leadership. In order to fulfil this task, the leaders must themselves be honest, intelligent and pubic-spirited. They must be men of initiative, imagination and courage who can see and foresee the needs of the people and problems of their country. Moreover, they must dwell among the people in order to understand their needs and difficulties. They must also be self-reliant, honest and responsible persons.
Keeping in consideration the above requisites, Afghan authorities and people must work for democracy in the country as without acquiring them, it would be really impossible to attain true democracy or even to dream about it.