Return to Anarchy

Of late, we have been seeing serious instances of either the military or “people power” usurping democratically elected governments.

This development is nothing short of a return to anarchy, wherein vested interests seek to overthrow elected governments simply because they do not like the people in the government or their policies.

In July 2013, the Egyptian military overthrew an elected government and arrested the president of the country who has been in detention ever since. The excuse of “not liking” the policies of an elected government is simply untenable. The Western governments did not take retaliatory action in the same vigorous manner that they would have applied in other parts of the world – Middle East being a “delicate” region. Their behaviour and implicit support to the military are also not conducive to democratic developments in the Middle East and elsewhere. The institutional development of democratic institutions requires that consistent application of democratic principles be allowed without intervention, and support is provided by all organs of the government to achieve continued development. This has not been the case with Egypt where militaristic tendencies are on the rise, and the military chief seems to be making all governmental decisions with imposition of his personal will over ornamentally positioned president and ministers, and a judiciary which seems to be playing along the military.

And now, closer home, we see significant deterioration in Thailand, where an elected government is on the verge of being “displaced” by disenchanted “elites” of Bangkok, who are not happy with the prime minister and the policies of her government. They also seem to think that she is running the government as a proxy of her deposed brother who is on exile. This is not the way to go, as overthrow of elected governments is a bad precedent which seems to be repeating in Thailand time and again. People power in the form of mob power, which displays its arrogance and power by occupying government buildings and challenging the status quo of an elected government and inciting the government to take action against them, is not the way to go. Such actions will lead to casualties on both sides and a military take-over eventually, which is not unknown in Thailand.

There are other examples like the above two, and one can only conclude that democracy is in danger of being subverted, and such examples will cast a pall of gloom on the long-term political and social development of these countries, which would slide back in time.

While one cannot do much from the outside except commenting, I am intrigued by the silence of the majority in both these countries, and even worse, by the silence of other democratic governments.


Vijay Srinivasan
01 December 2013


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