Tag Archives | Dictators
In the Economist, political scientist Alastair Smith explains, in a series of simple tips and instructions, how you too could successfully bend an entire nation to your cruel will:
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It doesn’t matter whether you are a dictator, a democratic leader, head of a charity or a sports organisation, the same things go on. Firstly, you don’t rule by yourself—you need supporters to keep you there, and what determines how you best survive is how many supporters you have and how big a pool you can draw these supporters from.
You can’t personally go around and terrorise everyone. Our poor old struggling Syrian president is not personally killing people on the streets. He needs the support of his family, senior generals who are willing to go out and kill people on his behalf. The common misconception is that you need support from the vast majority of the population, but that’s typically not true.
Tyler Hicks of the New York Times found family pictures at the the Qaddafi residence in Tripoli, and they’re amazing. How often do images of a Third World dictator make you irresistibly nostalgic for childhood?
The Qaddafis playing soccer. Baby photos. Colonel Qaddafi as a young lieutenant in the late 1960s. Later, as a father. And finally, a bizarre figure; something of an object of ridicule. A picture of Seif al-Islam atop a horse was a glossy, poster-sized print.
France (where your neighbors don’t care about your personal vices), sunny Mexico, and despot-friendly Saudi Arabia are top destinations for fallen leaders on the lam. The most notable ex-dictator to live out their days in the United States was Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, who along with his cronies was given safe haven in Hawaii by Ronald Reagan. Created by GOOD Magazine, click through for full map and details:
With Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak now deposed and Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi struggling to hold on to his own seat, we wonder where former exiled leaders slip away to after being ousted.
Libyan military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al Jazeera television reported on Monday, quoting witnesses for its information.
“What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead,” Adel Mohamed Saleh said.
Saleh, who called himself a political activist, said the bombings had initially targeted a funeral procession.
“Our people are dying. It is the policy of scorched earth.” he said. “Every 20 minutes they are bombing.”
Asked if the attacks were still happening he said: “It is continuing, it is continuing. Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car they will hit you.”
No independent verification of the report was immediately available.
The protesters were reportedly heading to the army base to obtain ammunition of their own, but witnesses said the air force bombed the demonstrators before they could get there…
Shortly after Haitians remember the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake, Haiti is struck with another surprise. The return of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who took over the country at the age of 19, continuing his father’s dictatorship of fear and torture. His arrival gave rise to mix emotions: some are questioning if his crimes will finally be tried, some remember the time of his dictatorship as the last time of stability in Haiti, some wonder if this will encourage exiled former President Jean-Bertrande Aristideto visit the country. One thing is for certain, he returned out of the concern of his homeland and it’s people. Can a man and his country put aside differences to help his people in a time of need? Forbes reports:
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Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, a once feared and reviled dictator who was ousted in a popular uprising nearly 25 years ago, has made a stunning return to Haiti, raising concerns he could complicate efforts to solve a political crisis and the stalled reconstruction from last year’s devastating earthquake.
The growing accountability movement got a major shot in the arm recently when it learned that on April 19, an Argentinian judge sentenced the last of Argentina's dictators, Reynaldo Bignone, age 83, to 25 years in prison. Bignone's crime: kidnapping and torturing 56 victims in a concentration camp during the reign of terror known as the "dirty war" that gripped Argentina from 1976-1983. This is huge, surpassing the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in his hospital bed back in 1998. (Pinochet died before justice could be done). The conviction of a former head of state for crimes he committed while in office sends a powerful message to all those suspected war criminals still on the loose, including some of the top leaders of the Bush administration.