Sunday, December 22, 2013
Personal observations about the Democratic practices
In a democracy, elected political leaders are expected to be well educated. Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin have doctoral (PhD) degrees. Barack H. Obama, has post- graduate degree equivalent of doctorate in law. French President Francois Hollande and British Prime minister David Cameron have received post-graduate education diplomas in the fields of public administration. Iranian President Rauhani has doctorate degree in law from the University of Glasgow, He speaks fluent Arabic and English.
Well-educated political leaders will better rule the country, they will keep the country free of troubles from the war, as well as from economic problems. They try to keep more positive economic indicators, low inflation figures, better economic growth, more welfare to citizens. They also refrain from cross-border military advantures.
Democratic leaders are expected to be healthy during their serving period. They undergo periodic health checks. Their health reports are shared with the public. Obama had received a ball kick to his unprotected face while playing basketball, he had lip bleeding for immediate medical care, we all knew the details.
George W. Bush had cookies at his throat, had difficulty to breathe. We were all informed. Everyone knew what happened in the Oval office when Bill Clinton was ruling. When Ronald Reagan was assasinated we all learnt the shooting details as well as operation and recovery period afterwards.
In non- democratic countries, health problems of ruling leaders are kept top secret. Russian presidents Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev had brain hemorrhage due to hypertension, and details were kept top secret.
Our beloved Atatürk's health condition was not known by the public until the last 3- months. That was a special case since we had at the brink of WW2 and we had serious Hatay crisis at our south border.
Bulent Ecevit, his Parkinson's condition was very clear. Everything was appearent on TV screens. But for some reason, he did not feel necessary to delegate his PM duties.
We have nothing to say for an unexpected heart- attack.
Turgut Ozal, Heydar Aliyev, Gamal Nasser have probably had heart attack.
Everything was top secret during the Soviet era, everything was a state secret.
However when Khushchev was in NewYork to attend the meeting held in the United Nations, his body disposals in his NY hotel room was isolated, inspected bu US secret service. He had diabetes, and high blood pressure, giving an indication for his life expectancy, transfering information to the other party.
American President plays basketball, gets a ball kick to his unprotected face. His bleeding lips instantly has been learnt by everyone.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is riding bike in his spare time, we'll know right away if he falls off the bicycle.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, swims in the summer in Italy with her husband. Her swimsuit pattern is known by everyone.
Although not yet a pure democratic country, we all know how Russian President Putin practices judo, rides a horse, hunts in the Siberian wildeness.
Bush- era Vice President Dick Cheney's multiple cardio-vascular surgery had revealed the weakness of the ruling in public opinion.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, had serious health problems which were kept secret for some time.
India's past leader Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was to undergo surgery, albeit belatedly disclosed to the public. In the world's largest democracy, India, in year 2009, the president Manmohan Singh had heart surgery. He was transfered to the operating room in a wheelchair, and his situation was announced at the last minute. When the heart surgery announcement was released, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was announced as the replacement prime minister during that period. Singh's public life was not affected by heart disease. He continued to serve the nation after surgery.
There is a general reluctance for public announcements of health situation of Heads of State.
Fidel Castro rules Cuba between years 1959-2008. He had handed over his responsibilities to his brother Raul Castro due to his old age and serious health problems.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's health problems could not be kept secret for long.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's terminal diseases until his death in 2004, were kept away from the public eye. When it was too serious, he was admitted to a hospital in France. Doubts were raised for Mossad's possible poisoning. Autopsy was rejected by the family. The exact cause of death has remained a mystery. French hospital has denied any suspicions for any poisoning in recent days.
In a democracy, the president and the prime minister's health problems, the medical emergency interventions, are immediately placed in front of the media.
Healthy people is to have the leadership job of the state to manage. Leaders with health problems are to delegate their responsibilities to another valuable public person so that it is benefitial for the country in terms of salvation. In a democracy, no duty is absolute. Each public responsibility has a reasonable time period to rule properly.
In business environment, we expect to have full check-up before assuming any top senior position. Persons at top business jobs are expected physically as well as mentally healthy. They do not smoke, they do not consume too much alcohol. They regularly go to gym, involve in sports, pay attention to their weight, blood pressure. We also ask new recruits to undergo serious health checks.
There are also other virtues for the public figures. Obama family attends to church prayings on Sundays. They are good in singing popular songs and in floor dancing. German Chancellor Angela Merkel goes to Berlin philharmonical concerts with her husband periodically every week, and listens to music at the back seat. Putin goes to opera performances in Bolshoi theatre.
Democratic practices, habits, practices are not immediately put into writing, hence they are spoken in time, discussed until a common concensus is reached, and then accepted by everyone. In this context, I tried to describe the subject in draft and hereby present to you. Comments are always welcome. Kindest regards
Oberstdorf, Germany, 22- December 2013
Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.