Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Does Democracy Mean to You?

[cross-posted from the YouTube Blog]

What is democracy? It may be a simple question, but as current events in Iran have highlighted, the answer can be complicated depending on where you are. When the U.S. State Department asked the question during its Democracy Video Challenge, it got over 900 submissions from 95 countries. A user from Zambia likened democracy to a smoothie of blended philosophical ideas. An Iranian group produced an animation that defined democracy as the moment when "all God's children sing together". A user from Uganda took a more reflective approach, wondering out loud what democracy could be after an encounter he had with a child begging in the streets.

The State Department asked you to vote on your favorites from 18 finalists, and it's announced six winners from regions across the globe:

These six winners (ourdemocracy, ACSIsrael, cash0612, rodinhamidi, aissathesheriff, and lluukk24) will get an all-expenses paid trip this September to Washington, D.C., New York and Hollywood to meet with filmmakers and producers to learn more about the film industry and sharpen their video and storytelling skills. But even beyond the winners, there were hundreds of fascinating definitions of democracy submitted to the challenge; you can see more on the DemocracyChallenge YouTube Channel or check out this montage of the 18 finalists' videos:

The discussion doesn't end here. If the topic moves you, engage with the finalists and the State Department in the comments section of these videos or by posting your own video reply. Questions about democracy have been inspiring lively debate since the days of Plato, and they'll no doubt continue long into the future.


Anonymous said...

Democracy is actually democrazy. What happend in Iran is crazy. What happend in Thailand is crazy. What happend whenever there is election anywhere in the world is crazy. So, democracy is democrazy.

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