Democracy doesn't happen on its own
Euromaidan. Photo Credit: teteria sonnna / CC BY 2.0
by Sarah Trister
Senior Advocacy Manager
From Tunisia to Turkey, Kiev to Caracas, people around the world are making their desire for democracy and greater freedom overwhelmingly clear. But what is the proper role for the United States?
The movements for change that have swept the world since 2011 are connected. The protesters on the Maidan in Ukraine surely looked to Egypt and Tunisia for motivation. What began as a student movement in Venezuela could have remained small and isolated had Venezuelans not had the example of ongoing protests in Turkey and Bahrain.
What unites the protesters is their yearning for human rights and dignity. These movements are a response to extensive corruption, impunity, and political favoritism. There is no common ideology connecting them, no one mouthpiece representing them. They are not the schemes of Western leaders, intent on overthrowing rival governments for their own purposes. In fact, many of the governments affected were or remain strong allies of the West.
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.