Vowing not to repeat mistakes of Arab Spring, Mauritanians forge new democracy
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/17/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
For the first time, the African nation of Mauritania is in the position to lay down the foundations of a democratic government. That nation's power is now being officially handed over from the military to civilian authorities. It won't be a simple or easy transition, but the Mauritanian Forum for the Preservation of Democratic Process, or MFPDP will make sure that in the end, it will be accomplished.
The group aims to promote the virtues of citizenship against a backdrop of cultural tribalism, regionalism and racism.
ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - Prominent Mauritanian journalist Jemal Omar is confident that his nation is in good hands. "Democracy remains an element of paramount importance to any progress. Our society is struggling to establish it," he tells Catholic Online.
The MFPDP is gaining maturity and experience. A group of Mauritanian citizens, including journalists, academics and ordinary citizens belonging to different segments of Mauritanian society, met and succeeded to reach an agreement on the establishment of the MFPDP on November 4 of last year.
A breakthrough was achieved after several months of consultations. The main players of Mauritania's society made a conscience effort not to repeat the same mistakes from the region's earlier "Arab spring." Mauritanians had learned that change can be done without resorting to the use of violence, as was the unfortunate cases in the nearby nations of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
The individuals and organizations behind the foundation are united in their vision of a new, democratic Mauritania. "The signers of this declaration solemnly undertake to preserve, by all legal and political means, democracy in Mauritania through the Preservation of Democratic Process."
The group aims to promote the virtues of citizenship against a backdrop of cultural tribalism, regionalism and racism. These ingrained, negative values have delayed the progress of the country towards higher and better results.
National unity as well as the recognition of Mauritania's cultural pluralism is among the group's main objectives. "Civil society can play a primary role in combating defects and informing public opinion about the benefits of democracy. Participation of civil society is determinant of the country's future," journalist Abdellahi Ould Zoubeir, as well as a member of the newly created organization says.
Geographically and culturally, Mauritania is a bridge between the Maghreb Arab and Sub Saharan Africa. The organization has taken this into account and is making a conscious decision to address this. "We have suffered a lot in the past. The lack of democracy was harmful for us in terms of the restriction of individual and collective freedom. This situation gave us energy and courage to decide to change our fate ourselves," another member says.
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