Entering the campaign for democracy

In the aftermath of the regional and departmental elections in France, we can be concerned to see a big winner: abstention, with a rate of almost 2/3. Democracy is the big loser. The formal and informal participation of citizens in political life, notably through pluralist, participatory and regular elections, is a key dimension of democracy. It is never definitively won. Let us remember that democracy has almost always been won at the price of hard struggles in the history of societies.

We see this today in many parts of the world where democracy is being severely repressed, as in Myanmar since 1 February. The military coup has so far resulted in the deaths of 873 people, including at least 73 children. More than 5,000 people are currently imprisoned and 175,000 people are internally displaced. After five months since the coup, hope is fading with each passing day. The country is also sinking into an economic crisis: 600,000 jobs have been lost and the poorest people are the hardest hit. It is feared that the collapse of Myanmar could destabilise the Asian region and encourage the rise of other authoritarian, violent and extremist powers. 

In this context, the "Youth for Myanmar" platform promoted by some fifteen Catholic movements and non-violent organisations at the international level in more than ten countries gives a new breath to the legitimate struggle to promote peace and democracy in Myanmar and in the whole region. The launch of this platform, in the presence of many Southeast Asian bishops such as Bishop Joël Baylon of Legazpi in the Philippines, will take place tomorrow 29 June. This launch, supported by Fondacio Asia, is also a way to mobilise the youth of the world, as the future for a more humane and just world is in the hands of each of us.

It is on a note of hope that you are ending, François, these two years of Carte blanche on RCF.

I would like to thank the whole team who welcomed me into the radio studios every Monday, and the director Raphaël who trusted me. Dear listeners, it was a joy for me to share these moments of complicity in the midst of the trying news of these last months marked by Covid. In the sunshine as in the darker nights, joy "adapts and transforms itself, and it always remains at least as a ray of light that is born of the personal certainty of being infinitely loved, beyond̀ everything" (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, §6). Joy is born of the taste for the other, in a shared solicitude.

In the joy shared at RCF, I wish you a good summer.