This morning, the radio read a statement which highlighted Democracy Day, a recent addition to the long list of international days. In 2007 the UN Generally Assembly apparently adopted the day, defining democracy as a
“universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.”
The statement was translated into Lwo by the newsreaders, who were apparently struggling with the vernacular terms for some of these words. The influx of new concepts from without seem to have taken place too quickly for leb Lango (the tongue of the Lango) to adopt. So the news piece was about elections, a small part of the wider notion of democracy, rather than about an opening up of the political space and the participation of citizens in local decision-making. These things happen. The word for Treasurer in Lango, for instance, translates into ‘keeper of the money’… a rather misleading term, particularly when one considers the fact that there is so much corruption here.
Across the globe, meanwhile, American keepers of the money either filed for bankruptcy or flagged their warning signs. But the global village was not so global as for this news to travel all the way to Apac where life went on as usual, and people called the radio with comments and lamentation. It shall be interesting to see if the shocks of a global financial crisis are felt here in this seemingly isolated part of the world.