“All of Us Need to Become Active, Engaged Citizens” – Elif Shafak

“All of Us Need to Become Active, Engaged Citizens” – Elif Shafak


Yeah. I think, first of
all, we embrace, you know, the values
that so many people in the past generations have
fought for, women’s rights, minority rights, you
know, freedom of speech, human rights,
separation of powers, a free diverse media,
an independent academia, rule of law. These are incredibly
important core pillars. You know, if we don’t have
these things, just having a ballot box doesn’t make
a system a democracy. Just the opposite, that’s
the end of democracy, because that’s the shift
into majoritarianism. And from majoritarianism
into authoritarianism it’s a very short slide. But I also believe
that we need to engage, be ready to have
new conversations, have a new language,
a new narrative. There’s so many areas
where typically liberals have not fought about enough
or talked about enough. So in a nutshell, I think
faith is way too important to leave to the religious. Patriotism is way too important
to leave to the nationalists or [? new ?] nationalists. Democracy or politics
is way too important to leave to career politicians. And technology,
the digital world, is way too important to
leave to tech companies. That means all of us,
whatever we’re doing in life, whether we’re bakers
or students or writers, we all need to become
active, engaged citizens, just like Hannah Arendt
used to talk about. She was so aware
of the need for all of us becoming more engaged. Not– I’m not talking
about party politics, I’m not talking about
partisan politics, but becoming engaged in the
civic space as alert citizens, you know, awake citizens. And I think this is
the age of citizenship, and change is going to
come from civil society, from the people, individuals. We–

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