September 30, 2009
I support democracy in Guinea, and elsewhere
A friend of mine has a bumper sticker on her car that says, “I support democracy in Iran.” Now, obviously I agree with that statement, and I understand her motivations for putting the sticker there. However, sometimes the trouble with bumper stickers and bumper sticker-style statements is that they can come of as sounding exclusionary. “I support democracy in Iran” — but what about, say, Honduras, or Taiwan, or Liberia? I think it’s safe to say that my friend supports democracy in other countries as well, but I can’t help but be reminded of the media coverage of the Iran election and fallout versus the media coverage of election- or democracy-related unrest and violence in other countries. As other bloggers before me have discussed, it strikes me as problematic.
I thought of the Iran coverage yesterday when I came across an AP article discussing pro-democracy protests in Guinea:
CONAKRY, Guinea –‘s government said Tuesday it would investigate why troops opened fire on protesters at a pro-democracy rally. A said 157 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.
While saying it would investigate, the government continued to maintain that the protest was illegal. It also said far fewer people died than reported.
Hospitals were flooded with patients Tuesday, and the death toll rose through the day.
fired on 50,000 people at the main football stadium Monday, shattering hopes that this West African country was shedding the yoke of dictatorship.
Some of those at the rally, upset that a military officer who seized power in a December coup might run for president in January elections, had chanted: “We want true democracy.”
I don’t watch much TV news, particularly since right now we don’t have MSNBC, otherwise I would no doubt be watching Keith Olbermann’s and Rachel Maddow’s shows on a regular basis. That was true in June, too, though, and I still heard tons about the post-election unrest in Iran. As far as I can tell, people aren’t talking about the unrest in Guinea the same way, and I can’t help but wonder why not. I don’t have any firm thoughts on the matter, just vague ideas, the bulk of which were already covered in the Feministe link above. At any rate, though, I wanted to call attention to this story, and state that my thoughts are with the pro-democracy protestors in Guinea, along with others around the world who are struggling to create or maintain governments of, for, and by the people.