Anne Edelstam: Democracy or dictatorship?

Democracy or dictatorship?

The issue of democracy versus dictatorship has lately more or less divided people, families and former allied countries. Most of us are in favour of human rights and democracy. But are we willing to fight for it? And moreover is it worth the price in human costs?

These are fundamental issues that we have to think carefully about. How many of us have lived under a dictatorship? How many of us know the reality behind the iron curtain of a maniac, be it in a small cult or in a country?

For those amongst us who work with mind control and with people who have been submitted to such psychological pressures, know that it is nearly impossible to have the strength and the force to fight a cult leader or a dictator on our own. Help from the outside is needed to be able to leave and recover from the experience of a dangerous cult.

A dictatorship can be compared to a cult on a wider scale:

  • There is one incontestable leader
  • There is information control, i.e. censorship
  • The people are pressured to silence through fear
  • The individual differences are suppressed in favour of the ideology dictated
  • Neighbours, friends, family members are encouraged to spy on each other
  • Delation is the order of the day
  • The leader is often a paranoiac
  • Any criticism is stopped through excommunication (exile) or murder
  • The welfare of the followers is not a priority
  • Lying is favoured when it serves the ideology and its leader

The list can be made longer but I’ll stop here.

Another question is now to be asked. Who deserves human rights? Everybody or just the Western countries? Only men or also women? These are fundamental issues for each one of us to reflect over because it’s easy to take a stand and light candles or go down to the streets to demonstrate and exercise our democratic rights in our democratic countries for peace. I do think that most of us want peace in the world. A minority must surely be against peace and democracy. However to be a silent bystander, like we’ve seen countless times in history, is also being an oppressor. Tolerance in the name of tolerance is sometimes exactly the contrary. It means that we tolerate what should never be tolerated. A genuine globalisation demands that universal values have priority in all cases.

At last I want to quote a German poet, Wolf Biermann, describing how he and his mother were running from the fires that devastated Hamburg after the British air raids in 1943, his mother told him ” these terrible, terrible bombers are going to free us from evil, evil people who took Papa away.”

I am happy to live in a country where I am free to write about these issues and where I can dress as I want, leave if I want, take a beer in a pub if I feel like it, go to court if I need to…

Written by Anne Edelstam