Kindergarten democracy

I've said before that democracy is a powerful tool, pretty much like the car; you are free to use it to go wherever you want, but before being allowed to drive it, you need to get a driver's license first. When I think about a number of policies adopted recently by the National Assembly, I see the image of a five-year-old kid having total control of a candy store. "I don't want to brush my teeth, I just want to eat chocolate" is the kind of reasoning that mimics the mentality behind the recent political activities in the country. Urgent and pressing matters are ignored while trivial and luxurious issues take center stage.

The majority of MPs have insisted on rushing through the process of passing laws without any rational justification. The recently-passed debt law is a good example. The legislation was repeatedly criticized for not treating all the citizens equally, with a number of economic experts, NGOs, MPs and the government all pointing out that it also includes legal and financial discrepancies and loopholes.

Most lawmakers rushed the bill through at the expense of its consistency. Maturely and actively listening to the viewpoints of the opposition could have gained more support for the legislation, and ultimately, could've resulted in the creation of a better one. The majority doesn't seem to care about other voices, simply because they have enough power to pass it.

On the other hand, a longstanding problem like the issue of bedoons (stateless people) was repeatedly neglected by the majority in the Assembly, even though further delaying of the problem will embarrass Kuwait before the UN Human Rights Council. It could also lead to subjecting Kuwait to sanctions next May. All of that doesn't seem to bother our respected majority.

Few months ago, MPs accused the government of trying to gag voices, and of not doing enough to protect freedom of expression when a writer was attacked. The same MPs threatened to grill the Prime Minister if he did not fire the minister of information for 'allowing' the owner of satellite station to criticize them on a TV show. A new audio-visual law is now in the making to place further restrictions on freedom of expression, and it is very likely to be passed by that same parliamentary majority.

It appears to me that Kuwait is witnessing a critical phase, standing on a thin line between an enlightened democracy that protects the rights, interests, well being and freedom of all, and a system where a majority, with no 'driver's license' practices dictatorship over the country at the expense of common sense and prosperity.
 © Kuwait Times 2010

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply