August 25, 2012

Who is a dictator?

The fall and demise of Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi is an indication that there is no one who could be equated with the Almighty. We are all mortals, after all. Mr. Gaddafi got on the stage in 1969. He was an instant hit with the people and the military as he deposed the monarchy. He was presented as a fire eating revolutionary who, at age 27, staked his life to free his country.

However, as is the case with all other dictators in history, he soon lost focus. At a point, he was hailed as the “King of Kings”. By that alone, anyone who is familiar with the jealousy of God would realise that the dictator’s days were numbered. True, a number of people have acknowledged that life is not particularly bad for the common people in Libya. There is enough, they say, to show that Libya produces oil. Social welfare facilities, including education and health are said to be available to the people. But, they were deprived of the most basic necessity of life- freedom. That provoked the uprising that eventually consumed the self-styled King of Kings who thought without him, there could be no Libya.

Mr. Gaddafi was not the first man to attempt to equate himself with God. Before him, there was Adolf Hitler who plunged the world into a war that claimed millions of lives. There was Mussolini. Of recent Saddam Hussein had to be plucked from power by allied forces of the Western powers. There were, on the African continent, Idi Amin Dada (in Uganda), Marcias Nguema (Equatorial Guinea), Sani Abacha (Nigeria), Jean Bedel Bokassa (Central Africa Republic), Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire) and Samuel Kanyon Doe (Liberia). In Asia we now have the infamous Mahinda Rajapaksa of (Sri Lanka).

At the height of their reign, they sought to equate themselves with God. They regarded other mortals, equally created by God, as rats and cockroaches. Most started well. They were very popular. They shed the blood of their predecessors to please the crowd. But, soon, they amassed such great power and wealth that could only get them drunk and insane. It is a familiar pattern. But none learn from his predecessors.

Who really is a dictator? To many, a dictator is that man who has no respect for the will of the people. Anyone who refuses to realise that what he holds is a sacred trust and that there is a social contract between him and the people can only move in one direction - down. Some dictators worked to transform their societies. An example was Josef Stalin.

His years in power propelled the defunct Soviet Union on the power of progress. He raised the socialist Republic to the status of a super power. But, he equated himself with God. He denied God and chose to rule as pharaoh did to children of Israel. He failed. The people craved for freedom. In laying the foundation for a great USSR, he also planted the seeds of the destruction of the country.

Muammar Gaddafi has just travelled that path. He has paid with his life. His good friend Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka is travelling on the same path at the moment. The same fate awaits him someday.

The Rajapaksa family pretend that the country would collapse without them. All over the country, they use money, public money and the power of the armed forces to oppress and repress the people. The white van is used effectively to abduct and kill those who disagree with the regime. The Rajapaksas’ stand above the law and disregard the constitution.

The law is waiting. Justice will be done because nothing is permanent. The immutable law of the universe over which only the Almighty presides dictates that they will one day pay for their evil deeds. Let those who have ears hear now, and those who have eyes see. Neither the Sun or the moon nor the truth can be hidden for long.

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