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A travesty of democracy

It is 12 January 2003 and US president Bush has rallied his troops for what he calls “The first war of the 21st century”. What is your view of this crisis, where, briefly, do you stand? This is the question we are putting to people around the world, especially those with their own public reputation and following. Our aim, to help create a truly global debate all can identify with.
Rukhsana Ahmad
12 January 2003

I am deeply troubled by this crisis which threatens to further divide and polarise people. It is bound to make our world a much more dangerous place.

No one wins a war: wars yield nothing but devastation, tragedy and deep smouldering hatred. Nor can a war resolve a problem conclusively. Afghanistan is a recent case in point. Poor Mr. Karzai has to depend on the US for his safety. It would be tragic if we, in the West, foolishly presumed that war is an easy option. It is never that.

I feel a kind of despair when I see the incredible might of the warmongers, the sophistication of their propaganda machine and their unwillingness to listen to reason. But, equally, I am encouraged by the extent of anti-war feeling in Britain. Despite the propaganda there is very little public support for this action. My faith in the wisdom of ordinary people is restored when I see the massive block of protest and resistance. It includes people from every faith, every race, every community, and of every political hue.

I have not as yet met anyone in real life, white, black or Asian, left, right, or centre, who actually wants this war. If our government here blatantly disregards public opinion and chooses to participate in the action, or even to bless it, it will be a real travesty of the spirit of democracy.

Originally published as part of a debate on 12 January 2003 Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. 1.

See also Writers, artists and civic leaders on the War: Pt. II

 

Peter Geoghegan: dark money and dirty politics

Democracy is in crisis and unaccountable flows of money are helping to destroy it. Peter Geoghegan’s new book, ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’, charts how secretive money, lobbying and data has warped our democracy.

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Join us for a journey through a shadowy world of dark money and disinformation stretching from Westminster to Washington, and far beyond.

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Peter Geoghegan Dark Money Investigations editor at openDemocracy and the author of ‘Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics’.

Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief, openDemocracy.

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