Lessons from Bosnia — Part 4
In the previous article, I showed that democracy is NOT a bad idea. Sure, it might be harder to put into practice than dictatorship, where you have one guy giving out orders, and anyone who disagrees is simply removed. It doesn’t take a genius to make that happen. And you do not have to be all that smart to see the limits and dangers of that system. At the same time, we humans didn’t survive this long on this planet because we’re pretty or strong, we survived because we used our heads. Hence, it would be reasonable to assume that when we’re not using our heads, things will go badly for us. In short, the ‘smarter path’, even if it is harder, is a wiser choice.
Democracy is basically the ‘citizen voice’. If we assume (like we often do) that voting is the voice of the citizens, we’ve lowered democracy to hearing the most important voice only every few years. And, as we’ve seen in the previous article, voting depends on the system; i.e. what choices are available. In fact, the previous article shows that voting might not even mean support, a vote could be cast for A just so that B doesn’t win. Hence, representative democracy is no proof of the true voice of the citizens.
However, in a democracy, citizens are free (or at least should be) to express their opinions any time they want. The most common ways are protests and petitions. In Bosnia, we’ve also had many meetings, even debates, with various officials. However, in the age of social media, the voice of citizens has never been more alive.
I have no idea how many petitions I’ve signed in Bosnia or for Bosnia, I honestly doubt any of them had much of an effect. However, I have used some as evidence that people support an idea or cause of action. So I do always say “Sign all the petitions you agree with because it doesn’t cost you a thing, and you never know when someone will use that to fight for a real change.”
Protests are a different story. For one, they ask for more from ordinary citizens. Being present in person is considerably louder than a signature on a petition, but it requires far more time, especially if the protest goes on and on, as some do. Some protests last for months. Secondly, protests could change. Organisers need to know about protests and why this is a big no, but…