Another Despot Falls

The will of the people is the most powerful force in the world. The world watches in fascination as events unfold in Libya, with a rapidity that was never anticipated. No one expected that Libyans fighting for freedom and the ousting of Libyan leader Colonel Muhamar Gadhafi, would have reached the stronghold of the dictatorship, the capital Tripoli, with such speed.
The domino principle is being played out in the Middle-East as the dictatorships and despotic regimes are crumbling under the pressure of the people’s determination to change the status quo where one man, his family, and his agents control all the wealth and political levers of a country, make all the decisions, while citizens are treated as juveniles incapable of participating in the decision making process.
It all started with president Ben Ali of Tunisia, who led his country for 23 years, and had to flee on the 14th January, this year. This was quickly followed by Hosni Mubarak of Egypt on the 11th February, after ruling his country for 30 years. Like a viral infection the determination for change in the Middle East has spread to Syria and the other countries on the horn of Africa where dissension and the fever of revolution is spreading like wild fire. Syria, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen are all being threatened, and now Libya from the evidence seen on TV has irreversibly fallen in the hands of the forces of resistance.
If only the leaders of those countries had heeded Shakespeare’s words which apply to all spheres of human endeavour, particularly to politics, that all the world’s a stage where we all have our entrances and exits, and should know when to bow out gracefully. Never overstay your welcome on the stage. But politicians in particular have that weakness where they fail to listen to the voice of the people and ignore the political wind, never knowing when to quit.
The despots who have been overthrown, who thought they could oppress their people in perpetuity, if they had just listened to the political wind and stepped down at the right time, could have been able to retire quietly into old age.
Do the present tyrants in the Middle East desperately clinging to power, not witnessed the fate of those who preceded them? Sadam caught like a rat in a hole in the ground to escape the wrath of his people? Has Assad of Syria and Gadhafi like a hunted animal on the run seen the images, of a once powerful President of Egypt, one of the great civilizations of the world, wheeled into court in an iron cage, surrounded by his two sons, sick and impotent, as the world views his image as a weakened and sick old man. It is a truly disturbing image of a man who once walked with kings, princes, heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, reduced to such a pathetic state, and not evincing public sympathy from the people he ruled for 30 years.
I have in my possession a treasured copy of Colonel Muhamar Gadhafi’s Green Book that I purchased in a little bookstore in England in 1981. In England I liked browsing through quaint old book stores and antique shops, of which there are a proliferation. I am a bit confused on the correct spelling of the Colonel’s name with his military uniform looking like a dandy. CNN spells his name GADHAFI, the BBC, GADDAFI. But on the cover of the Green Book the author’s name is spelt: MUAMMAR AL QUATHAFI.
In his book Gadhafi lays out his political philosophy which he describes as ‘the final solution to the problem of the instrument of government.’ Gadhafi argues that ‘all political systems in the world today are the struggle for power between instruments of governing. The struggle may be peaceful or armed, such as the conflicts of classes, sects, tribes, parties or individuals. The victory is always the victory of an instrument of governing—be it an individual group, party, or class, and the defeat of the people’
He criticized Western style democracy because in his words ‘immediately after winning the people’s votes, he usurps the people’s authority and acts instead of them. That means that parliaments have become a means of plundering and usurping the people’s authority. Hence the people have the right to struggle, through popular revolution, to destroy those who usurp democracy and the people’s sovereignty and take them away from the masses.’
Evidently Gadhafi failed to heed his own words. If he had read the words of his own book, he would have been in a far better place today, than like a hunted animal fleeing from his people. He has taken on a posture of defiance, as he vows to fight on, when it is evident to all that it is all over for him. Still in his delusional state, Gadhafi vows to fight on or martyrdom. Just like all despots, Sadam Hussein a prime example, they enjoy the pain and suffering they inflict on others and the power of life and death over those who challenge their authority. But instead of openly leading his defeated army on which so much of the country’s financial resources were spent, he hides from  untrained teachers, x-ray technicians ,a shopkeeper, ordinary working people who make up the revolutionaries who have never before held a gun in their hands. Like humpty dumpty, when despotic rulers are fallen from their pedestal, they will never be put together again.
As we watch the dramatic pictures of history unfold in our living rooms, we must be amazed at the bravery and determination of the people of the Middle-East. In Syria, tanks and warships are used to kill and terrorize the people, yet the crush of humanity defiantly reassembles to face the might of a despotic regime, with a daily slaughter of dozens of young men, women and children, while the world issues empty admonitions to Assad.
Inevitably, people who are subjugated overcome what is the greatest hindrance to the destruction of tyrannical regimes—fear. When fear is overcome, no military might, can deter the march of the people, who will resort in ingenuous ways to destroy the regime. When a young man was asked by a reporter why they were fighting against Gadhafi, the young man replied ‘ Now we are free! I have a future.’ For the longing for freedom is the most compelling, magnetic force that has driven man throughout the entire history of the world. It is in man’s DNA.
The Western analysts commenting on the events in Libya have all expressed their concern over the descension into destruction and chaos.
But all revolutions in history descend to a period of uncertainty and chaos,  and inevitable violence towards former rulers. It happened in France where the revolution precipitated the most extreme violence towards the monarchy and aristocracy, by the use of the most gruesome method of execution, the guillotine. The Russian Revolution of 1917-18 also saw the execution of the Tsar and his entire royal family.
A revolution is not a tea party. Family and friends of the revolutionaries have been killed by the state apparatus, and in their struggle to depose the tyrannical regime comrades and brothers have made the ultimate sacrifice.
It was the writer Franz Fanon who wrote the famous book, The Wretched of the Earth.’ In the book, Fanon, a psychiatrist by profession, and a revolutionary in practice, asserts that the man who has been held in bondage needs to exercise revengeful violence towards his former oppressors in order to expiate himself from the rage within. The action of repressed man must follow its natural human course for normality to return.             Otherwise there will always be repressed anger which manifests itself in severe psychological damage, if the anger is not given an avenue to dissipate itself, writes Fanon. It is not easy for those who have actually witnessed and experienced the brutality of a regime that tortures and kills, for its agents and perpetrators to live a life of peaceful co-existence in a community following a revolution. But order is restored in the end, for people who have shed blood in a noble cause.
The lesson to be learned from all this as we watch history unfold before our very eyes, is that man cannot be held in perpetual subjugation by a small clique. He will eventually break the chains that bind him. There is only one fate in store  for Gadhafi, his family, and his agents, who led a privileged life during his reign.
Gadhafi’s reaction to a call from  his people for a more democratic form of government in Libya was to use military aircraft to bomb demonstrators. He promised the trial and execution of the demonstrators. His fate has been determined from his own mouth, for barring a miraculous escape, his people will find him, and in the worlds of Fanon, there will be no outbreak of peace and love towards him.

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