Do All Roads Lead to Athens? Different Paths to Democracy
This event will be moderated by Sara de la Rica
We probably all agree with Winston Churchill’s old saying according to which “democracy is the worst form of government, expect for all the other forms”. During the last year it has become apparent that even the Muslim people of North Africa, living in countries ruled by either dictators or military juntas or religious autocrats, share this very British opinion. At a minimum they want more freedom and, as the recent events in Libya and Syria have proven, they are willing to die by the hundreds to obtain it. Still, once the old and oppressive regimes are toppled things become complicated and the apparently straight road to “democracy” becomes convoluted and plagued by bifurcations and long detours. All one has to do is to look at the current situation in Latin America, Africa and Asia to realize that this is the case: maybe all roads lead to Athens, but they are long, winding and dangerous roads. In what sense are Latin American countries “democracies”? In what sense are the Arab and Muslim countries heading toward democratic forms of government? More generally: is Western-style democracy the destination toward which all countries are moving, or are there very many “un-oppressive government” forms, which we can all label “democracy” for convenience but are, in fact, very different from each other and that are being adopted by different countries around the globe?
de Meléndez, 18