What could happen if every person in every country had the opportunity to vote on a global referendum? This is the question asked by Joel Marsden’s intriguing documentary World Vote Now. The Global Citizen Corps (GCC) in the UK was so interested in this proposal that we chose to sponsor the film as part of the Take One Action film festival, which aims to link audiences, movies, campaigners and communities to inspire shared responses to issues of global concern.
As the film was sponsored by GCC, it could be no ordinary cinema screening! We really wanted to engage the global youth community in the debate around the issues raised by the film. This was achieved by the circulation of a survey to all GCC countries, asking young people to express their understanding of democracy, what barriers they felt prevented democratic participation, if there should be a world vote and — if so — what should the issue be.
Here are just a few of the responses for the question "What is Democracy?":
- "Democracy gives respect to every single person [and] respect for humanity" - member of GCC Iraq
- “Democracy [is]...the way of your life, it's not just the word, it's the things we do daily that contribute to society and make it a better place to live” - member of GCC Iraq
- "Freedom of choice, thoughts and actions" - member of GCC Lebanon
- “Democracy for me is a freedom, the freedom of everyone to say their minds, that every person who listens should be able to appreciate and respect each other” - member of GCC Indonesia
- "No one person's vote or opinion matters more than another, and everyone has the right to free speech and to their own beliefs" - member of GCC USA
The results of the survey were used throughout the screening, which was open to students and teachers. The experience was made even more unique by the presence of Marsden, the film's director. Joel really brought the film to life for the viewers with his direct and honest answers to their questions. They were given a rare insight into the process of documenting such a hot topic — including Joel’s tale of a night spent barricaded into a hotel room with only a table leg to defend himself from armed militia angered by his intervention!
I recommend viewing this thought-provoking movie; you never know sometime soon we may all be faced with a ballot paper for participation in a global vote.