Demons and angels: strongman leaders – democracy or mob rule?

Those who struggle for freedom across the world know that free elections, the rule of law, human rights, freedom of the press, and equality regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation are the pillars of democratic systems that protect us from a minority who would subjugate us and turn us against one another for their personal gain. Democracy matters because it is all that stands between us and the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos and Pol Pots that live among us still. Continue reading here.

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Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration Speech -“The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.”

On each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld has been posting the words of six icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. Today, on Inauguration Day we let the words of the giant of democracy, Nelson Mandela, stand in judgement on the shame that is Donald Trump.

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“I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope… you have to give people hope.” Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk, gay activist and human rights leader, was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the world. The transformation of many societies in their attitudes not only to gay people, but to women, to people of different race, to people with disabilities, have all come about mainly through civic activism and democratic debate. Democracy has been a pathway to freedom for women and minorities around the world. In the extracts from his speech given after his election Harvey Milk reminds us that democracy is, ultimately, about hope.   Continue reading

“All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights…” Jawaharlal Nehru

On each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld is posting the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. Today we remember the speech given by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India on the eve of India’s Independence on 15 August 1947. In it Nehru outlines the aim of India’s democracy as ending the poverty and suffering of its citizens, providing a home for all people regardless of religion, and playing a leading role in spreading justice across the world. Continue reading

“Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth…” Liu Xiaobo

Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an 11 year jail sentence for campaigning for democracy in China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 in a ceremony he could not attend. In a message smuggled from his prison cell he asked that his Nobel Peace Prize to be dedicated to “the lost souls from the 4th of June” Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 which suppressed China’s dawning democracy movement. The following extracts from the speech he made at his trail remind us of the enormous personal cost that those who struggle for freedom of speech, human rights and democracy are often willing to pay for the benefit of strangers and future generations.  Continue reading

“There is no other way except by understanding and putting into practice every human right for all mankind…” Shirin Ebadi

On each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld is posting the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. Today Iranian Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi speaks of the vital importance of democracy, human rights and women’s equality for people of the Islamic world. Continue reading

“Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace …” Martin Luther King

Starting today, on the birthday of Martin Luther King, on each of the days leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, disorderedworld will post the words of five icons of democracy to remind us of what democracy really means, and inspire us to stand in resolute opposition to the divisive path along which Trump is leading the world. In the following extract from his acceptance speech for the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King reminds us that equality and nonviolence, not bullying, intimidation and division, are the very foundations of democracy.

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