Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Libya's New Constitution!

Sometimes people like me forget to be grateful for the privileges and freedoms we enjoy because we live in a democracy. The infighting in parties and partial truths from politicians can make us lukewarm and cynical about our political system. Yet we should never forget that democracy means WE CAN DECIDE! We have the option to remove a leader when we believe he is corrupt. We have the right to speak out when we see injustice or cruelty. We have laws which restricts the powers of government and means that a single person with the law on his side can be stronger than any economical, political, or social group.

At such times it may be good to take a look around the world to see what other people are willing to sacrifice for those privileges; to hear the passion in their voice and see the conviction in their eyes. For it is because of such people who fought for our freedoms that we enjoy the rights we have today.

In "A vision of a democratic Libya" The Interim Transtional National Council has presented an ambitious vision for building the democratic state of Libya. From their mixed group of people from different tribes and social strata, they have come together to develop a document which defines the rights of the people of Libya and the duties of the people who will be elected to serve as their leaders. Here are some excerpts:

"We have learnt from the struggles of our past during the dark days of dictatorship that there is no alternative to building a free and democratic society and ensuring the supremacy of international humanitarian law and human rights declarations. This can only be achieved through dialogue, tolerance, co-operation, national cohesiveness and the active participation of all citizens. As we are familiar with being ruled by the authoritarian dictatorship of one man, the political authority that we seek must represent the free will of the people, without exclusion or suppression of any voice."

Among other things, the document guarantees "separating and balancing the three branches of legislative, executive and judicial powers," the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, the rights of women, a free and competitive market economy. In short it guarantees that, "Every individual will enjoy the full rights of citizenship, regardless of colour, gender, ethnicity or social status."

The full document is available on the website for the TNC: http://ntclibya.org/english/libya/

I challenge anyone who claims that Libya is not ready for democracy to read this document. Here we have a spontaneous popular protest movement where people from all walks of life came together after 40 years of oppression to express their grievances. After being slaughtered by a government which was unvilling to listen to their demands they defended themselves and took up arms against their illegitimate government. For two months now they have fought against professional soldiers and mercenaries; outgunned by arms bought with their own resources in order to kill them. In cities like Misrata they have held on to defend their streets and neighbourhoods, fighting tanks and cluster bombs with rifles and molotov cocktails. And in the middle of all this they have come together to work for a society where individuals are respected, and the government is by the people and works for the people.

These people deserve democracy if any people ever did.

They take the few resources they have and improvise. See how they have made a revolution theme from the 2010 World Cup song