Table of contents

How (not) to export civil society

  • Keith Brown (Brown University, Providence), “Do We Know How Yet?  Insider Perspectives on International Democracy Promotion in the Western Balkans”
  • ThéodoraVetta (École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris),“‘Democracy Building’ in Serbia: the NGO Effect”

Democracy is indeed a beautiful concept.  Democracy can be defined as a system wherein the citizen gets an empowered role of building the nation.  His right is clearly defined and so are his duties.  The nation is run by representatives elected according to the choice of the people in the country.

Origin of democracy:

The concept of democracy was thought first by the ancient Greek politicians and philosophers.  The first democracy known to the world was formed by the Athenians in 508BC.  It was a preliminary form of democracy wherein citizens chose their representatives, who in turn elected the legislature body.

Benefits of Democracy:

  1. The interest of the citizens is protected.
  2. Democracy prevents the monopolistic attitude of a single person enjoying all benefits and advantages.
  3. It ensures equality irrespective of religion, gender, income, age etc.
  4. The responsibility and authority of the legislative body are fixed. Hence proper functioning of the administration is ensured.
  5. It ensures the flow of benefits to all.
  6. The most important is, it is imp source of peace. Democracy ensures justice to all.  Hence no one is subjected to humiliation or exploitation.  Only when people feel deprived there would be revolts and unrest.  When there is good social justice, everyone would resort to peace.  Hence there would be no need for wars.

Hence democracy is more important in nations battered by war.  It will ensure that life returns to normalcy at the earliest.

In the absence of democracy, people normally suffered in the hands of autocratic rulers.  In such nations, the ruler would not be providing even the basic amenities to people.  Exploitation, inhuman punishments, and social crimes would be on the higher side.  The standard of living of common people would be pathetic.  But in such circumstances, unethical people join hands to accumulate wealth.  Curfews and famines would be common.  People will not have the freedom to voice their opinion.  There would not be security for the lives of the people.  Democracy saves people from all the above difficulties.  In a democratic rule, such atrocities can never be committed.

But there are few loopholes like misuse of public fund, corruption etc.  This might be due to the wrong choice of the elected representatives.  Hence the success of democracy lies in the hands of the people.

The role of NGOs is very vital in constructing democracy in underdeveloped as well as war-prone nations.  They help in the spread of political education and awareness of the rights of the people.  Back to the discussion about civil society…

    • MilicaGolubovic (Northeastern University, Boston), “Judicial Professional Associations ― Fostering Judicial Reform through Civil Society Development”
    • Elton Skendaj (Cornell University, Ithaca), “Peace Education as a Democratizing Process”