THE YOUTH AS BULWARKS OF GLOBAL DEMOCRACY
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) joins the global community in commemorating this year’s International Democracy Day under the theme “Empowering The Next Generation.” Once again, this occasion provides an opportunity to reflect on the state of democracy worldwide, the gains achieved, the notable setbacks, and the imperative of nurturing future leaders who will champion democratic ideals. It is another auspicious moment to renew the clarion call for eternal vigilance against all the obvious and surreptitious forces chipping away at the bulwarks of democratic principles and free enterprise.
International Democracy Day continues to serve as a reminder of the very core principles that underpin democracy: freedom, inclusivity, transparency, and the rule of law. These values are essential for the sustenance of peace, justice, and social progress in societies across the world.
Democracy has undoubtedly brought about positive change in many nations, fostering civic participation and enabling the voice of the people to be heard. It has empowered individuals to exercise their rights and hold leaders accountable, contributing to the betterment of communities and nations.
However, the journey towards a more perfect democracy has not been without challenges. Across the globe, we have witnessed both progress and shortfalls, and we recognise and subscribe to the importance of addressing these challenges and working collectively to strengthen democratic institutions, protect human rights, and promote equality for all citizens.
Since August 2021 when the global think tank Freedom House released starkly worrisome indicators of the worsening state of democracy across the world, not much has changed towards the promotion of those tenets that make democracy the most ideal form of human representation. The organisation’s 2023 report paints a grim picture, stating expressly that in the last one year, “the most serious setbacks for the freedom of democracy were the result of war, coups, and attacks on democratic institutions by illiberal incumbents”. According to the report, the only silver lining is in the fact that even though political rights and civil liberties showed significant progress in about 34 countries, only 35 countries presented negative indices; an improvement from the previous year’s report. Sadly, most of the countries where democracy lost ground are on the African continent, where a rash of military coups-de-tat has blighted the nations of Sudan, Tunisia, Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger and Gabon. It is also important to note that cyclical democratic elections on the continent have continued to fail the test of transparency and inclusiveness, as they remain dogged by cases of widespread ballot rigging, disenfranchisement, violence, and bitter post-election litigation.
As we mark this International Democracy Day, we align with the theme for this year’s event, which recognises the critical role of education and mentorship in empowering the next generation of leaders. It is incumbent upon us to equip our young people with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate actively in the democratic process. By nurturing their civic awareness and encouraging their engagement in civil society, we pave the way for a more vibrant and resilient democracy. The youth constitute a substantial portion of the global population, and their engagement in the democratic process is pivotal for its vitality. They bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and boundless energy to the table, and we firmly believe that the collective strength of the youth can drive positive change, tackle societal challenges, and propel nations towards progress and prosperity. Together, we can empower them to be responsible and informed citizens who will carry the torch of democracy forward.
The National Association of Seadogs, in line with its most enduring tenets, values democracy as not merely a system of governance, but as a shared commitment to freedom, equality, and the betterment of society. Empowering the next generation in the spirit of democracy is not only a noble goal, but also an essential investment in a brighter future.
We advocate for the creation of platforms and opportunities that empower young people to actively participate in politics, civic engagement, and community development. We will continue to support initiatives aimed at educating young people about democratic values, principles, and the importance of responsible citizenship.
We encourage experienced leaders and role models to mentor and guide the next generation of leaders. We also urge political leaders to ensure inclusive and diverse democracy that respects the rights and dignity of all citizens, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or social background.
In conclusion, NAS/PC extends its heartfelt appreciation to all young individuals and organizations dedicated to strengthening democracy worldwide. Together, we can build a more just, equitable, and prosperous world for generations to come.