Since concepts such as democracy and justice are simply ideas and intangible in nature, their existence, success and implementation requires a certain amount of good will and more importantly a belief in their effectiveness by the subscribers and subjects of such values. And that is where the issue of perception gains more significance.
A staple of all sophisticated legal systems, which is derived from what is known as natural law, is that ” it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”. This concept stresses the importance of the subjects’ perception of the legal system, since ultimately, if these subjects perceive the legal system to be biased or ineffective, they will not seek its arbitration or protection, stripping it of all authority and moral high-ground. Another consequence to such an outcome is lawlessness and anarchy, since the subjects have no lawful recourse or at least do not believe they do, they will resort to taking the law into their own hands and in such a case only brute force will rule supreme as Cicero proclaimed “Law stands mute in the face of arms“.
The same idea applies to democracy, and especially so in a fledgling democracy like Iraq’s. When politicians behave in a certain way as to undermine a democracy which is already viewed with some suspicion, it only serves to deprive it of legitimacy and pushes people to dismiss it as a foreign and alien concept which is manipulated by greedy politicians who only seek to legitimise their reign.
It is in these early formative stages of our democracy where the political figures need to emphasise the importance of democratic principles to the people to allow it to blossom, and refrain from making statements which demonstrate their lack of belief in basic democratic ideas because they do not serve their personal interests.