A government should be an entity that serves us; not one that rules us.
- Cyrus Derakhshan
Sierra Leone, the country of blood diamonds, is a good example of what a bad government is capable of doing. Even though this country is rich in resources such as diamonds, titanium, bauxite and rutile, 70% of its populace live in poverty.
Sierra Leone went through a bloody and disastrous civil war in which unspeakable atrocities were committed. The reason for the civil war was plain and simple: government corruption. Sierra Leone can be used as the best example to illustrate that countries that are considered third world are not necessarily so because they lack resources but are that way as a result of bad government. Here is a country in which people can have a standard of living that could compare or even surpass First World nations and yet they find themselves in a state of poverty and misfortune. This is entirely due to bad government and corrupt politicians. Sierra Leone's civil wars were futile because the very people that were conducting them were corrupt themselves. In addition to that, the common people had no game plan in establishing an ideal government.
The land of the philosophers of old who brought so much knowledge to the world. Greece, the country that gave us Socrates, Plato and Aristotle has allowed its incompetent and corrupt government to shamefully sink it into the debts of darkness. With unemployment at 26%, the youth of Greece have no promising future ahead of them. The question to be answered is how could the people of Greece allow such a terrible thing to happen to their country? They allowed it to happen because many Greeks were employed by the public sector which kept giving itself generous salary increases and outrageous pension plans. As a result, the government was spending more money that it was taking in. People that were not part of the public sector saw these abuses and instead of doing something positive to change it only thought of themselves and started to evade taxes. As a result of tax evasion and crazy government expenditure the government of Greece started to spend more money than it was taking in. Since people in government did not want to do any cut backs and were enjoying the free ride, they started to borrow money that they knew they could never pay back. The politicians and the people that were working for the public sector were mostly corrupt and continued to milk the system until it all came tumbling down as a result of an out of control national debt. This all culminated into an economic disaster followed by violent protests.
The people of Greece not only did not take an active role in bringing positive change to their government and society but also encouraged the corruption and became part of it. As a result, they find themselves in the nightmare that they are in today. Perhaps the Greeks would not be in a state of crises today had they taken heed of the wise words of Socrates who while being prosecuted in an Athenian court on charges of corrupting the youth said
I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This
is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person.
Somalia is a country that has been rated the #1 most corrupt country by the Berlin-based organization Transparency International. Here is a country that is so entrenched in corruption and disorganization that it cannot even form a stable centralized government. As a result different factions have been fighting for years trying to take control of the different regions of the country. The outcome of bad government in Somalia can clearly be seen in the people.
In 2011 because of constant fighting the Somali people were not only lacking fundamental necessities but facing starvation. To make matters worse, in that same year, Somalia also got hit by a terrible drought that left more than 10,000 Somalis dead and left millions more at risk. Today the situation has not improved much because the people of Somalia have not taken action in bringing the appropriate ethical individuals into power to form a proper central government.
A country afflicted with self-destruction which has come about as a result of disunity and religious fanaticism.
Afghanistan is a tribal/nomadic multiethnic society with each region of the country having its own traditions and language. Historically, this type of societal structure has not helped the Afghan people uphold the notion of unity within the country. On the contrary, it is perhaps one of the major reasons that in its contemporary history Afghanistan has always been in a state of disunity and unable to form a proper powerful central government. In this regard Afghanistan is very similar to Somalia. As a result, foreign powers like Great Britain, former Soviet Union and now the United States have ravaged the country, taking advantage of its weakness.
Religious fanaticism has also been one of the greatest contributors in keeping Afghanistan a backward nation. This damage has been caused by various religiously driven factions who will stop at nothing to retain their own power and keep the populace from progressing so that they can hold on to that power. Their tactics include but are not limited to suicide bombings, intimidating people by using violence to force them to follow their ideologies and hurting little female children to prevent them from attaining an education. All these atrocities done under the name of religion have been extremely counter-productive to the progress of Afghanistan.
As a result of disunity, religious fanaticism, internal fighting, war with foreign powers and bad government, today Afghanistan rates as the 15th least developed country in the world (according to the Human Development Index) and also the third most corrupt country in the world (according to Transparency International). As a consequence, millions of Afghans have been displaced and thousands killed. Today Afghanistan is plagued with war, poverty, illiteracy and hunger. All these terrible things have occurred because the Afghan people have not taken the necessary steps in bringing about unity and forming a proper central government.
Iran is a country rich in history and culture. A nation with a remarkable past that was light years ahead of the rest of the world during ancient times. A land that had admirable kings and queens. Kings such as Cyrus, who enacted the first human rights codification within his empire and liberated the Jews in Babylon.
A kingdom that guaranteed its citizens human rights and religious freedoms. It is ironic to see how two millenniums later the complete opposite is prevalent in that country.
Before the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran enjoyed a stable economy and had a solid reputation within the international community.
Although under the monarchy Iran did not have an ideal government and saw its share of corruption, nonetheless Iran was making gigantic leaps in modernization and great improvements were being made in social welfare. Compared to the current regime, one can say that the previous regime was angelic.
Unfortunately in trying to correct the wrongs of the monarchy, the Iranian people got cheated into revolting to bring about an Islamic Republic thinking that if a religious government came into power justice would come about. Fuelled by religious fanaticism, their big mistake was that they did not question what kind of government was being implemented through the revolution. Consequently they made things much worse than they were before and they ended up implementing a disastrous government. The current government has done nothing more than rob the public, take away human rights and has driven Iran into a state of desolation.
Today Iran is governed by an absurd government which is a mixture of Islamic theocracy and pseudo-democracy. However because the country lacks true democratic elements, citizens do not have the choice to elect their own leaders or decide their own laws. The current state of human rights in the country has been criticized by both Iranian and international human rights activists. The government’s constitution has placed restrictions on fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and the press, restrictions on freedom of religion, gender equality and a host of others. The government of Iran has a reputation for torture, rape and killing of political prisoners. Moreover there are many cases of beatings and killing of dissidents both in Iran and outside the country. Protests against the government are violently suppressed by Islamic militias.
Under the current so called theocracy, the incompetent mullahs have done a magnificent job destroying the country and giving it a bad public image. The country’s relationship with the west has deteriorated over the years.
The United States has placed sanctions and implemented measures prohibiting trade and commercial transactions between the two countries. The growth of tourism has been stunted due to unstable regional conditions, a rotten public image, weak advertising, and absence of efficient planning strategies in the tourism sector.
As a result of the aforementioned, Iran is currently in a grave economic, social and political condition. Unemployment is rampant, while corruption and mismanagement on the part of government is not alleviating the problem. The current oppressive regime has created a feeling of helplessness and depression amongst its population. Today the use of narcotics in the country is on the rise and becoming a serious social problem. Iran is supposedly run by religious men who should be moral agents upholding justice, yet these so called religious men have committed nothing but atrocities against people and their track record speaks for itself. Unfortunately the Iranians lack a clear vision and direction as to the type of leadership and government they want to attain. Once they have determined this, they can unite and take the necessary steps to rid themselves of this evil fanatical regime. Hopefully this time around the Iranian people will learn from history and not repeat their mistakes.
North Korea is an independent kingdom and officially called The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Its founder and first President Kim Il Sung initiated a policy of political and economic self-reliance, severing the country from the international community. The adoption of this policy resulted in the country’s isolation from the rest of the world. Kim believed that his nation can manage their own affairs and build their own future without relying on foreign influences. Through the years North Korea has used propaganda to create a negative image of the United States by stating that the United States is a threat to its social and political system. Also in the early 1990’s North Korea broke its relationship with former U.S.S.R which resulted in losing a good ally and a trading partner. In the 1990’s, as a result of natural disasters alongside bad decision making on the part of the government, North Korea went through a period of famine that killed thousands of people. Since then North Korea has heavily relied on international aid to feed its population.
Today North Korea remains a single-party state, led by the Korean Worker’s Party under the rule of Kim Jong Un.
During his reign Kim Jong Un’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung also adopted the policy that the military comes first. This meant that all the nation’s resources would be allocated to the military first thus neglecting other essential entities within the country.
This was done in order to strengthen the country and its government.
North Korea has one of the lowest ranking human rights record of any country. Socially people are assigned a status depending on their background and family history. This allows only certain people to run for government or to have access to education. There are restrictions in regards to freedom of association, freedom of expression and movement. Furthermore there are limitations on political and economic freedoms. Moreover, the country has a reputation of arbitrarily detaining citizens and torturing them, which has resulted in many deaths. There are also prison camps where political prisoners and their families are kept under inconceivable conditions and many political dissidents are ill-treated and executed.