Toppling authoritarian leaders left and right, outraged civilians in the Arab world demanded for it. In other parts of the world, people claiming to represent the 99% came together and camped around financial centres to demand for it. If there is anything the past year has shown us, it is that democracy is still in demand. Whether this is the same democracy as we here in Paris think of when we hear the age-old Greek word remains to be seen. Whether the global sense of democracy is even worth aspiring to, let alone killing in the name of, remains to be seen.
Some protesters got what they wanted: a new political regime. Others have since packed their tents and gone home. Although these movements across the globe call for many changes, plenty of which are going unaddressed by leaders, these people set a movement into motion which will have consequences for a long time to come.
Blood, sweat, tears, colourful posters, bandanas, and the heat of protesters chanting – these are the images with which this issue of The Paris Globalist begins. In the Arab world, where protesters demanded democracy, we take a look at what they got. In the age-old democracies, we examine whether it is what the people wanted. And in those countries that have chosen different paths, we wonder whether democracy is really any better. In these pages, our writers cover challenges to democracy, new democracies, the downfalls of democracy, and, especially, what is being done in the name of democracy. We have attempted to put together a global narrative, covering as many diverse experiences of democracy as possible. The topics range from Tunisia, the United States, China, to Singapore – a new democracy, an old democracy, a pseudo-democracy, a “hybrid” democracy. A little bit of everything. Now, more than ever, is the appropriate time for leaders to take a good hard look at what exactly “democracy” is and consider how the times, they are a-changin’. In a world where social media and the internet give people free reign to express their ideas, debate them, and group together, it is time for leaders to prepare for feedback from the masses. We wish them the best of luck adapting, and look forward to witnessing how democracy will adapt to its new surroundings.
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