We believe that human beings aspire to freedom by their very nature, and that no single culture has a monopoly on democratic values. The tradition of democracy has been enriched by contributions from many cultures, and the development of democracy is open to people everywhere. World Movement for Democracy
I strongly believe in the universal value of democracy and the enormous benefits it can offer to all people all over the world. Democracy is the best form of government for all nations. Democracy, freedom and rights are not something typical of the West, something which should be reserved to the West. It’s wrong to say that other cultures are unfit for freedom, don’t want it, or don’t have a culture that is compatible with it. Although democracy undoubtedly requires certain conditions, these are often exaggerated by those in whose interest it is that democracy doesn’t flourish. And these conditions are often promoted by freedom and rights themselves (a modicum of freedom creates more freedom; some rights promote other rights). It is often even racist to claim that freedom and rights should not be promoted elsewhere in the world.
However, I am sensitive to culture and I don’t believe that democracy should take the same form everywhere. Democracy is often viewed as an export-product which some countries feel they have to impose on others. Other countries naturally see this as a return to the bad old days of colonialism. All nations have the desire for freedom and have to arrive at self-government principally through their own efforts and decisions. Ultimately, they will arrive at their own chosen form of democracy adapted to their specific circumstances. We can and should assist them, but democracy has to grow from within. It requires political participation from the majority of the citizens, and hence the citizens must feel connected to the idea of democracy and to the institutions necessary for realizing this idea.
Nevertheless, we often see that the phrase “own form of democracy” is often a euphemism for dictatorship, used by oppressive governments that feel the need to use the language of democracy but do not care for the substance. In some way, this is proof of the success of the idea of democracy, but too often this success is limited to words and ideas. In many cases, this “own form of democracy” also reduces democracy to something very shallow; sometimes elections are all that is left. I strongly believe in a heavy democracy rather than a “lite” one: democracy is much more than elections and majority rule.
We also believe that democracy is not easy to implement or to keep alive. Many countries lack some of the prerequisites for effective democratic government and have to be assisted in building these prerequisites. Hasty impositions of democracy or elections without the concomitant institutions and mentalities, can do more harm than good. Democracy is extremely important, and just “dropping it from a plane” in hostile circumstances can only discredit democracy in the eyes of the people.