Clashes between Ukraine’s riot police and anti-government protesters is the latest testimony that people have lost interest in democracy as protest has become the way for change.
For almost three months protesters have occupied the Independence Square in central Kiev, calling on the government to reconsider its decision to refuse signing a trade deal with the European Union, EU.
While negotiation have been ongoing between the opposition, leading the protest and the hardliner government of President Viktor Yanukovych, the riot police decided to use brunt forces to clear the area, and the results have been devastating on both camps. The horrendous massacre that happened in Cairo, Egypt, between supporters of ousted President Morsi and government forces is today taking place in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, as the people protest asking for the authority in power to strengthen ties with EU, instead the response has been killing, injuries sustained or humiliation as the international community watched helplessly.
Not surprising, the reaction has always been to threaten to use economic sanctions on the government. As the tradition, nobody seems to cares about the victims or whether the pleas of the people are considered or put on the table thereafter.
When the bloodbath occurred in Egypt, many people watched the horror on their small screens, condemned such atrocity in this modern epoch, and that was the fin.
Today again, the media has grabbed the world’s attention with updates as Ukrainians are fighting each others. A simple problem that could have been resolved by listening to the populace has now generated into street violence with mass destruction.
As the over 101 dead are being buried and the hundreds wounded are seeking medical attention, the question most people in Ukraine would be asking would be whether people should still pay with their lives for democracy after they broke loose from the bondage of communism.
The people’s choice
Democracy advocates for free and fair political participation and contestation, and wide protection of civil rights – election as well freedom of speech, freedom of movement and the right to carry out peaceful protests.
The fact that the people of Ukraine voted President Yanukovych to power, does not make him to mask himself behind the constitution – to become too tall to bend down and listen to them if they disagreed or are worried about his political reforms.
The simplest definition for democracy according to political science is government by the people, meaning, rule by the people, power belongs to the people and not with the authority.
Peter Joyce, in Understanding Politics, sums this up
A democratic society is one in which political power resides with the people who live there: it is they who are sovereign. A democratic political system is one whose actions reflect the will of the people (or at least the majority of them).
If people could protest continuously for three months, it obviously reveals that they are determined and serious about the issue.
Therefore, ignoring to listen to them and trying to be diplomatic in any approach to deal with them is adding more salt to an injury.
Quit, for peace
With lives lost, and the people seem more adamant than before to hang on till their pleas are fulfilled, the solution now is simple, the president has no choice but to quit for the sake of peace.
The more, President Yanukovych continue to play wise, the likelihood that the street violence could soon move into an armed conflict and before many would realise the effects, another Syria crisis would be on the way.
If that has to happen, then Russia and President Putin would be the first to rejoice as another market to sell weaponry would be up for grasp.
With no doubts the Ukraine people would rather fight the government of President Yanukovych to the last person than accept to be kicked around by Russia on the pretext of a better economic offer to keeping ties with the EU.
Although Yanukovych is trying to reach a truce with the opposition and open for an amendment of the constitution limiting the power of the president and giving more power instead to the parliament, the timing seems wrong.
The protesters instead want him out before any election can be organised to smoke out another leader as the clashes on the streets persist.