Tag Archives | dictatorship

How Pope Francis Collaborated With Argentina’s Brutal Military Dictatorship

Is it really so difficult to find someone qualified to be pope who isn’t connected with mass murderers? Digital Journal writes:

From 1976 until 1983, Argentina was governed by a series of U.S.-backed military dictators who ruled with iron fists and crushed the regime’s opponents. As many as 30,000 people were killed or disappeared during this horrific era, and many children and babies were stolen from parents imprisoned in concentration camps or murdered by the regime.

During this harrowing period, the Argentine Catholic church was shamefully silent in the face of atrocities. Worse, leading church figures were complicit in the regime’s abuses. One priest, Father Christian von Wernich, was a former police chaplain later sentenced to life in prison for involvement in seven murders, 42 kidnappings and 31 cases of torture during the ‘Dirty War.’

So exactly what role did Jorge Bergoglio play in his country’s brutal seven-year military dictatorship?
A 1995 lawsuit filed by a human rights lawyer alleges that Bergoglio, who was leading the local Jesuit community by the time the military junta seized power, was involved in the kidnapping of two of his fellow Jesuit priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, who were tortured by navy personnel before being dumped in a field, drugged and semi-naked, five months later.

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When Does Democracy Turn Into Despotism?

Created by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films in 1946, the still-thought-provoking short PSA Despotism & Democracy doesn’t exactly paint our current prospects in a positive light:

Measures how a society ranks on a spectrum stretching from democracy to despotism. Where does your community, state and nation stand on these scales?

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The Hunger Games In North Korea

imagesGrimly close to a real-life version of everyone’s favorite dystopian novel/movie? Guernica on author Shin Dong-hyuk, who in 2005 slipped out of North Korea through a hole in an high-voltage fence:

Born into one of North Korea’s six “complete control districts” (labor camps), which have remained virtually unnoticed by the global community despite their visibility on Google Earth, Shin was born stripped of his humanity. Classified as “irredeemable” because of an uncle’s crime against the state (fleeing the country after the Korean War), Shin was regularly overworked, abused, and starved. In Camp 14, an isolated compound about 30 miles long, Shin was taught to believe that violence was normal and snitching a duty.

When. at the age of 13, he discovered that his mother and older brother were planning an escape attempt, he promptly told a prison guard. Shin’s mother and brother were brought in front of the crowded camp and shot.

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Government Or Regime? The Language Guide

Via Parapolitical, a compare and contrast exercise in how the news media describes our world. Nations which do business with the United States, even those among the most brutally oppressive, are led by “governments”. If arms money is not flowing, the countries are ruled by “regimes”. What does “regime” imply? It sounds villainous and evil, less legitimate, more tenuous — as though overthrow (or invasion) is inevitable and warranted:

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How To Be A Dictator

dictatorIn 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:

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.

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Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier Returns To Haiti

Photo: Francios Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier shortly before Francios death and Jean-Claudes presidency

Photo: Francios Duvalier and Jean-Claude Duvalier shortly before Francios' death and Jean-Claude's presidency

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:

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.

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North Korea’s Most Sought-After Consumer Items: Skinny Jeans, Ramen, Porn, And Human Manure

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Wondering what objects people ruled by the world’s most repressive dictatorship would like to get their hands on? A Seoul-based professor who interviewed recent North Korean defectors was told that the hottest consumer goods from the past year include skinny jeans, ramen soup, porn films, and even human feces. The Korea Herald has the story:

Skinny jeans, blue crabs, pig-intestine rolls and even human manure were some of the hottest items among North Korean consumers this year, according to a South Korean professor who has interviewed recent defectors from the communist country.

Kim Young-soo, a political science professor at Seoul’s Sogang University, said in a conference on Tuesday that adult movies, television dramas and instant noodle “ramen” made in South Korea are also selling “like hot cakes” in North Korea.

Skinny jeans refer to slim-fit pants that have gained popularity around the world, said Kim who interviewed about 2,000 defectors this year as part of a research project for the government.

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