Monday, December 31, 2007

How odd...

By Carl

without a war?

DEOTHANG, Bhutan (Reuters) - Bhutanese voted on Monday to elect members to a new upper house of parliament for the first time, a step towards democracy after a century of absolute monarchy.

The tiny, conservative Himalayan kingdom has been preparing for democracy since former monarch Jigme Singye Wangchuck decided to hand power to an elected government, even as many of his citizens said they were quite happy with the way things were.

Not a shot fired. No nation invaded and displaced the king. No trillions of dollars spent to spread a philosophy.

In short, democracy grew from within, because the people were ready for it. In this case, the existing government was, as well.

And yet, even here in a country where the first TVs only came in 1999, the ugly head of Iraq is reared:

"I'm afraid that our country might end up like other countries who are having problems because of democracy," said Mila Wangchuk, 28, who runs a real estate business.

It's taken nearly twenty years for the king to agree to a general call for democracy. In that time, many Bhutanese have been expelled and ethnic Nepalese living in Bhutan have been denied the vote. We're not talking about a paradise here.

But it's a start, and should serve as a beacon to any war-mongering knucklehead who wants to be President that we will be vigilant about how our troops are used in the future, because here we have a clear example of how to do democracy the right way.

(crossposted to
Simply Left Behind)

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