democracy

DEMOCRACY QUESTIONED

by mgopin on May 6, 2015 · 0 comments

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Democracy is short-lived without an enlightened electorate, an enlightened electorate cannot be achieved without an effective education for enlightenment, and an effective education for enlightenment has yet to be developed.

The most dangerous thing to the history of democracies is not taking fools seriously. This is the fruit of their labor and one day it may deprive us of a home.…

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DEMOCRACY’S PARADOX

by mgopin on December 2, 2014 · 0 comments

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(reflections on the 2010 decade’s upward tick of liberal idea dissemination, coinciding with the upward tick of reactionary trends in democratic voting)

The weakness of democracy:
The ballot box,
For it is a private space of,
Exposed tribalism.
This is a paradox for,
Democracy was meant as an antidote to tribalism.
The strength of democracy:
Agreed upon rights,
Agreed upon universal commitments,
Based on the unshakeable rule of law.
This has upended,
Tribalism’s death grip on history.
This is also a paradox of human nature.
What is to be done next?…

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My latest article has come up on Huffington Post. Appreaciate your consideration, comments, and critiques!

Abyei-Patrol2

“A New United nations of Human Rights Countries,” Huffington Post

The ten most successful nations on earth, in terms of well-known categories of human rights adherence, as well as other quality of life metrics, such as equal pay, women’s equality, the basic freedoms, environmental sustainability, should form a union that will come with very clear and enviable privileges and for the governments and peoples of said states… 

The goal of such a union is simple: incentivized expansion, the creation of a club that aspires to include more and more member states, as those states reach the appointed threshold metrics of human rights adherence. This will create incentives, from both top down and bottom up, to improve a human rights record. This will revitalize a global movement in a better direction for many nations, and it

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Democratic experiments are capable of evolution, as long as adherents to a religion or citizens of shared societies never stop evolving, growing, recognizing the responsibility they have to use their minds constantly to interpret, to exercise their conscience, and to negotiate the best path forward to sacred and social peace.

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My latest Huffington Post piece examines democracy in the modern world:

Democracy is dead, long live democracy. Modi has won by a landslide in India. Touted everywhere as the world’s largest “democracy,” India will be ruled by a man who has never repudiated or apologized for the slaughter of Muslims in his state’s riots while he was in charge, a man who is the force behind the most ultranationalist and bigoted Indian political party in modern history. Right here in the USA, Princeton University demonstrates that most every policy and every piece of ‘democratic’ legislation is supporting the rise of an oligarchy and the disappearance of the middle class. From Russia to India to Israel, we have a problem with elected ultra-right leaders who basically embody what John Stuart Mill, one of the greatest modern architects of democracy, referred to as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’

In every case majority …

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Prejudice: Is It So Bad?

by mgopin on April 23, 2014 · 0 comments

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In this hysterical video, and this great follow-up video, the actors bring to light how quick we are, even when seeming to be liberal, to put people into entire categories of their interests based on the shape of their eyes or color of skin. Then again, the second video makes fun of the first and calls into question how mean the video is to the white guy. Lots of amusing mixed messages here that I urge you to study here. You will certainly see  yourself in one form or the other.

In many ways, the fun poked in this video could only make sense in a country of immigrants like America. It is still after all a grand experiment in putting dozens of ancestries together and saying, ‘here, make a coexisting democracy’. The experiment is still an awesome one and has implications for the future of a planet …

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Syria’s Christian Conundrum

by mgopin on June 8, 2012 · 6 comments

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by Hind Kabawat, CRDC Senior Research Analyst and Expert on Conflict Resolution

This article was originally published by CNN here.

One of the most perplexing aspects of the Syrian revolution is the deep ambivalence felt by so many of the country’s Christians when faced with the prospect of freedom after four decades of authoritarian dictatorship. Some Christians have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of democratic change and a more open civil society, but many have not.

As a Christian, this provokes a great deal of sadness in me and others who are committed to transforming Syria into an open, democratic, inclusive, secular and religiously tolerant society. But the problem is that many, if not most, Christians in Syria do not believe that this will be the outcome of changing the regime.

On the contrary, they believe the present regime — corrupt and repressive as it has been — is the …

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With Tyrants On All Sides

by mgopin on February 12, 2012 · 0 comments

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Al-Qaida calls on Muslim world to support Assad opposition forces – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official says al-Qaida-linked fighters already are flowing from Iraq to Syria.

Human rights, human decency of the Syrian people, assaulted from all sides. But perhaps this has always been the challenge of constructing the good society, and we cannot shrink back from the challenge. It is the same now with the outrageous support of terrorists against Iran, for example, and Iranian regime’s active support for the killing machine in Syria. How to push back all tyrants who unleash forces that always destroy civilians first and last, and let the Syrian people, indeed all peoples of the region, build their own countries together.…

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From the explosion of Osama Bin Laden into our consciousness on that terrible day in 2001, all the way to his death, feels like a frame of existence, a distinct period of our history and fate as an American community. There have been many deadly wars since then that America has participated in or supported. As an American Jew and a veteran peacebuilder in the Middle East, I also feel like this decade has been a whirlwind of violence, from Iraq to Lebanon to Gaza, and now to Arab countries in which I had worked, especially Syria where I put my heart and soul.

Every war, every massive act of violence, always makes me reflect anew on the origins and nature of human violence, and on its opposites, empathy, compassion, and love. We humans have made so many efforts through the millennia to create one political arrangement after another in …

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By Hind Aboud Kabawat (Senior Research Analyst and Expert in Conflict Resolution, CRDC, George Mason University).

Damascus, Syria

May 20, 2011

Can our beloved Syria be saved from the brink of destruction? This is clearly the question on the minds of millions of our fellow countrymen (and countrywomen). And it is truly astonishing how quickly events have transformed the so-called “facts on the ground” in this country. One of the most locked-down societies in the Middle East quite suddenly erupted in rage, anger and frustration after forty years of political repression and economic stagnation. Just think of it: the first demonstration was on March 15, just a mere two months ago. But so much has changed in the minds, hearts and aspirations of the Syrian people that it is impossible to think that we can ever return to the status quo ante—the Syria of March 14th.

What the …

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