The evolution of a democratic government is sloppy business. It can move forward and backward irrespective of any personal schedules and as we have so often seen those that work the hardest for freedom and justice are not necessarily assured places at the final table when constitutions are ratified or peace is achieved.
Time magazines man of the year, Vladimir Putin, is a fine example of the forward and backward goings on of the process. What we thought was Democracy in Russia turns out not to be hinged so much on the personal freedoms of the people but on the personal wealth of the country. Ever since the walls of injustice were torn down, Russia has had a tough time of it. It has taken years of trying this and that to discover its new place in the world; in large part thanks to their large oil and gas reserves.
Yes, under Putin, personal freedoms have been cut as economic prosperity has increased. TV stations have been shut down and reports censored, and businessmen jailed who dare challenge the Kremlins power base. And least we forget the sudden deaths of all the reporters who met mysterious fates that all seem to be ruled as suicides; all supposedly trying to report the truth about the political process there. Not exactly Democracy as we know it.
Looking at Pakistan we see the same identity crisis going on; personal freedoms versus the personal wealth of the people? The recent martyrdom of former Prime Minister Bhutto makes one wonder how either of these two countries will ever develop sustaining Democracies in the next year or any year down the line, but then again, they said the same thing about us a long time ago.
Around the world thousands morn this day as this new martyr is added to the list of those who have fought oppression with the ultimate sacrifice. She will be missed, but not forgotten. And for those who believe that silencing a voice can silence a movement, they are in for the direst of discoveries. The reporters in Russia, the Buddhist Priest of Myanmar, all know their cause is just, and Democracy their reward. It’s just such a very very long road with so many twists and turns, it’s a wonder any of us ever make it.