23 November, 2017

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Characteristics Of Third World Dictators & Their Destinies 

By Lasantha Pethiyagoda

Prof Lasantha Pethiyagoda

Prof Lasantha Pethiyagoda

Most third world dictators tenaciously cling to power and refuse to step down when their beleaguered people get fed up with them. One tell-tale sign is, they somehow get this absurd notion that the country belongs to them, and them alone and their families and future progeny and must rule forever. This delusionary belief of state ownership by dictators is often derived from the feeling that they “liberated” or “saved” their countries, from an enemy either in the form of colonial rule, separatism or insurgency, etc.

It seems most prevalent among the first generations of post-colonial nationalist heroes but has manifested in village strong-man terms in modern times. Having won independence from insurrections or uprisings or provided leadership in ending civil war, they are hailed as heroes and deified. Called “father of the nation,” or “every child’s father”, criticizing them is deemed sacrilegious by followers. Some even take awe-inspiring epithets for themselves such as saviour, people’s leader or redeemer of the nation which, in the local languages, mean an exalted demi-god.

Mahinda boardTo drill into the docile and awed populace that they are “saviours,” they are present everywhere, in larger than life cut-outs and huge banners. Currencies bear their portraits and their grinning pictures hung in every nook and cranny in the streets of cities and roads of their country. Every monument or building of some significance is named after them: their face is everywhere, from the buttons, t-shirts and caps of “a tomorrow for youth” to the dresses of quasi-national dancers. Highways, stadiums and schools are named after them. National holidays are suggested to honour them.

It is forbidden to call them by their un-nationalist or Anglicised name; only “most-respected” or protector, or `the people-centred leader-president’ are allowed. The same sentiment becomes prevalent among the next generation of leaders, where ageing cabinet ministers have to address the young crown-princes, mere members of parliament, as “Sir” and rise upon the latter’s arrival. Military leaders are either immediately imprisoned on trumped-up charges, only later to promote themselves as “Generals” or even “Field Marshals” upon assuming office or affiliate power.

The often insecure heads of state surround themselves with loyal lackey supporters, often drawn from their own villages or electorates. Other supporters and henchmen are simply bought: soldiers with fat pay-cheques and perquisites; urban workers with free meal packets and local alcohol (“essential commodities”) public servants with “free” motor bikes and scooters; journalists with laptop computers, smart mobile phones and intellectuals, opposition leaders and lawyers with big government positions, appointments as heads of foreign missions and luxury four-wheel-drive SUVs.

Social scientists observe that one of the driving motivations to political office has been the power to dispense largesse at will, the power to appoint, transfer and dismiss on whim, and the power to make and unmake infrastructure projects. Therefore, the first official act of partisans in office has been to create departments, positions and appointments to be handed out. The customary method has been to dissolve the boards of government corporations to reload new bodies with lackeys.

Since security is their utmost priority due to guilt-conscience, dictators buy the loyalty of the various military corps by showering them with salary increases, purchase of new weapons, large emoluments, wide-open opportunity for graft, cars and other gifts.

Dictators also allow the military corps to engage in lucrative business transactions or own profitable businesses with full state patronage. Siblings with affiliated power ensure that the military control several high-profit yielding businesses while ignoring with the customary “blind-eye”, the plunder of historic archaeological artefacts.

Thus, even when the head of state has no option but to contemplate stepping down, these supporters and lackeys fiercely resist any cutbacks in government largesse or any attempt to open up the political system to transparency and good governance – for fear of losing the jobs, perks and privileges. Free loaders and patronage junkies publicly urge them to stay on, sometimes supplicating the occult conjurors and leading them on!

Official government spokesmen often warn that anyone talking about forming another party would be committing treason as loyalty to strengthen the dictator’s hands is paramount as he is saviour and the threat of enemy action looms around the corner. Ministers and MPs suspected of having anything to do with justice movements are routinely placed under surveillance.

To protect their perquisites and ill-gotten benefits, these spineless sycophants lie, deceive and misinform the head of state, sometimes with auspicious rituals of mythical beliefs. They continually praise their benefactors to the sky, even when their own futures are fatally compromised!

Most third-world dictators know that they have done extremely evil deeds to their people. Their dirty hands are so steeped in innocent blood and their bulging pockets so full of ill-gotten booty that they are afraid all their past gory misdeeds will someday be exposed and unpleasant reprisals will be taken against them. Or they could be hauled before international courts for crimes against humanity. So they invariably attempt to claw their way back to power, regardless of the human cost and consequences to the economy.

If fear is the primary motivating factor, there is a sensible way out of this dilemma for former tyrants. Most poor people in third world countries are very forgiving people compared to their rich counterparts. The wise head of state would call a meeting of all opposition leaders in a spirit of “national reconciliation” and negotiate a way out. Items for negotiation might include an indemnity, safe passage out of the country in return for the repatriation of the country’s wealth that was looted by their regimes.

An apology or compensation to the families of those executed might also be discussed. A broad spectrum of independent rights activists, human rights advocates and respected retired judiciary should be invited as observers with lobby facilities. While hatred and revenge do not resolve enmity or right wrongs, compassion and fairness will.

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  • 17
    3

    While hatred and revenge do not resolve enmity or right wrongs, justice followed by compensation will. Compassion and fairness will come good only in an ideal world.

    • 8
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      Lasantha Pethiyagoda

      RE: Characteristics Of Third World Dictators & Their Destinies

      “Most third world dictators tenaciously cling to power and refuse to step down when their beleaguered people get fed up with them. One tell-tale sign is, they somehow get this absurd notion that the country belongs to them, and them alone and their families and future progeny and must rule forever. This delusionary belief of state ownership by dictators is often derived from the feeling that they “liberated” or “saved” their countries, from an enemy either in the form of colonial rule, separatism or insurgency, etc.”

      Yes. They are cured by democratic or armed revolutions.

      Now, these dictators and their cronies nee to be exposed more and more every day.

      For this week let us all celebrate, the demise of these dictators.

      MaRa MaRa ChaTu MaRa Amana MaRa, HoRa MaRa Dhushana MaRa Mini MaRu MaRa

      Jaya Mangala Gatha-Verses of Auspicious Victory over MaRa (rare Pali version)-Buddhist Chants.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OH9kdeLEX4

      Based on the Book of Protection (Paritta Sutta) from the Pali canon, the Jaya Mangala Gatha is sung here in a rare recording by the Mahabodhi Society of India in original Pali. The Jaya Mangala Gatha is a chant recommended by the Buddha to destroy negativity and to generate auspiciousness. It proclaims the 8 major victories of the Buddha which are:

      1) Victory over Mara ( MaRa), Chatu MaRa
      2) Victory over the demon Alavaka (Wimal), Amana MaRa
      3) Victory over the wild elephant Nalagiri (Udu Gamanpila), Pacha MaRa
      4) Victory over serial killer Angulimala (Gotabaya), MiNi MaRu MaRa
      5) Victory over the evil intentions of Cinca who sought to defame (Pavitra), 6) Victory over the haughty brahmin Saccaka (Vasudeva), Paka MaRa
      7) Victory over the serpent king Nandopananda (Susil), Shill of Mara
      8) Victory over the false views of Brahma Baka (Yapa). Dhushana MaRa

      • 2
        2

        Lasantha Pethiyagoda

        RE: Characteristics Of Third World Dictators & Their Destinies

        Want to Read more about the Characteristics of MaRa MaRa Chatu Mara?

        Modern Dictators:
        Third World Coup Makers, Strongmen,
        and Populist Tyrants

        “Historians have on the whole been less shocked by foolishness, cruelty,
        lack of compassion, missed opportunities, and various tragedies than
        sociologists and students of political science, simply because historians have been preoccupied with what actually happened rather than with what should have happened.”
        –Walter Laqueur, A World of Secrets

        http://www.rubincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Modern-Dictators.pdf

  • 30
    3

    Well written articale, very appropriate for the fool who thought he was the king.

  • 17
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    Excellent article.Many of our people were so brainwashed and unable to think straight.
    Where is Champa, chief devotee of MR?

  • 12
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    Brilliant piece, Lasantha.

    • 12
      4

      Marvellous exposition totally applicable to MR’s Sri Lanka.

    • 3
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      Sharmini,

      I don’t agree. Good piece but not brilliant. Indemnity and safe passage in return for looted goods is not a good outcome for the thousands of suffering souls. Furthermore such an outcome is not a deterrent to would be dictators as well. I assure you in this thrice blessed country of ours the Rajapaksas are not the last of the Mafiosi family to impose tyrannical rule in Sri Lanka. And if you think that all the loot or a substantial amount of the loot will be returned by such cowardly tyrants, you need to think again.

      Awful crimes have been committed. The perpetrators need to be tried and if found guilty they must pay for their sins. There is no better deterrence than to see the once great and mighty languishing in prison garb, eating prison food and in company with other common criminals. Those who deified such common criminals will cringe in shame and not be easy prey to myth making in the future.

  • 10
    3

    Do not blame MR. This is all our fault. What do you think the Kurahan colored Satakaya , that he wears even in his sleep, is for? All this time, like Messiah, he was trying to give us a message through it – Use the Satakaya to lynch me publicly before I kill more. That is the message he was trying to give and we have ignored it. As a result so many innocents, including Thajudeen, lost their lives.

  • 9
    2

    I agree with Amarasiri that exposure of MaRa & Cronies who are elected or nominated by MaRa should be exposed by the President and the new National Government. This will bring desired changes for the country to march forward with a clear vision.

    But what will happen if MaRa & Co join MS- RW national government in sheep’s clothe and capture the power within one year as per Galle Distric MP Nanayakara’s claim.

    We all studied the Little Red Riding Hood – Wolf story. Hope MS-Ranil- Chandrika pre-empt such an eventuality right from now.

    Still it is not too late for MaRa to gracefully withdraw from his power hungry political journey.

  • 12
    1

    Excellent article! Can someone please translate it and put it into the Sinhala media as well?

  • 4
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    Everything is correct except the last para.

    People grab the dictator hit, slap and kick him with their footwear (sign of disrespect in third world) for all the atrocities he committed to the people who dearly voted or elected and he dies like a stray dog with humiliation.

    Now you must be remember how Gadhafi and Sadam died !!

    • 6
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      @MirakRajBanda

      “Now you must be remember how Gadhafi and Sadam died !! “

      Bad example. They died because the West decided wanted the Iraqi and Libyan Oil

      Saddam and Gaddafi may not have been Nice People but they kept Iraq and Libya largely peaceful and the people generally prosperous.

      Under the guise of presenting Iraqis and Libyans with “Democracy” the West created the biggest mess these countries have ever witnessed, Iraq has seen no peace since the US Invaded and same goes for Libya. ISIS was spawned as a result of these actions and people continue to die there in their hundreds

      If you admire that, you are a strange human being !

  • 3
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    Rememeber Ranil W is the nephew of JR and . JR the gunning fox groomed RW politically. JR is the worst anti Tami racist who derailed Chelva -Banda Pact and caused 1958 anti Tamil Riots and the sole and main architect of 1983 anti Tamil pogrom. The architect of the Tamil genocide. JR was worse than Mara in anti Tamil sentiment. RW has already said there is no Federal solution for Tamils. As far as the emperor is concerned power in the Colombo is much more important than anything. There is little for the Tamil to hope. Be slaves to slaves. Their genome will vanish.

    • 5
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      @pacs
      With well over 55 Million Tamils in TN, plus millions more scattered around the globe (think GTF, etc) I think you are being alarmist when you claim that the Tamil Genome will vanish, no ?

      • 2
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        Actually there are around 100 million Tamils in the world, however that does not make it fine or give an excuse for the Sri Lankan government or for the Sinhalese to discriminate and commit genocide on the indigenous Tamils living in the island. This is like the Zionists excusing the dispassion of the Palestinian Arabs stating that there are 20 Arab nations and millions of Arabs living around the world.
        The Palestinian Arabs have their own unique identity language and culture that is different to the other Arabs( in fact each Arab nation is very unique from the other, in looks racial composition language religion and culture) and so do the indigenous Sri Lankan Tamils unique in many ways different to the Tamils from India. Their own culture and Tamil had evolved separately in isolation from the Tamils in India.

  • 8
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    Brilliantly written

  • 3
    1

    “Dictators also allow the military corps to engage in lucrative business transactions or own profitable businesses with full state patronage. Siblings with affiliated power ensure that the military control several high-profit yielding businesses while ignoring with the customary “blind-eye”, the plunder of historic archaeological artifacts”

    Dictators also would be willing to perform connivance against the State itself that they pose to protect – with insurgents, terrorists, or any subversive movement that they think as would promote prolong the rule, to which security personals are by many means coaxed into be bind-eyed; some patriotic soldiers may turn around and finish the job required by the state, the somersaulting dictator would assume Conner patriotic and Military leaders are either immediately imprisoned on trumped-up charges, only later to promote themselves as “Generals” or even “Field Marshals” upon assuming office or affiliate power.

    A truth finding mission in the lines of South African style would do lot of good for this country establishing Dharma and Just; my worries are over the millions of Gullible…….. who pose greater threat to the nation, unless the
    these Conner Patriotic are well exposed!

  • 5
    1

    Dr. Lasantha Pethiyagoda’s essay is, in other words, The Story of the
    Rajapakses. An account of the decade old “reign” of the Medamulana mattayas. The semi-educated “Lawyer” Mahinda Percy does not know what hit him. It will be difficult for him to travel in the road and be seen in public events – that includes weddings and the like. Like Alexander – the Great he may have thought he was God himself. If there is any doubt about this, ask Jackson Anthony. Such was the North Korea type of deification by the boot-lickers around MR. There will be no shortage of this variety of kakko in our poltikkas. I recommend the reading of that beautiful poem – that we studied when we were around 13-15 H.W. Longfellow’s “King Robert of Sicily” Of course, this poem will be too much for the Rajapakses’ IQ – and that includes that youngster referred to in these pages as a synthetic lawyer. As Ranil once said “put all the Rajapakses together and you cannot get a GCE (OL) from them – combined” The country has just emerged, or escaped, from a terrible sapaya.

    Backlash

  • 8
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    This is a well TARGETED Sniper, I mean this good article by Prof. Lasantha Pethiyagoda!

  • 1
    5

    This is a thinly veiled onslaught of MR, couched in general terms. Some of the criticisms are deserved, but what cannot be disavowed is the fact that he saved Sri Lanka and it’s inhabitants from continued terrorism. It is true that he took no part in the military operations, but he did provide the needed armaments and the political will to take on the terrorists, something that had been obviously lacking from the previous ‘leaders’. It is unfortunate that you attempt to belittle this achievement because you no longer live in Sri Lanka.

    The military leaders do need to be given due recognition for their part, but subsequent actions by Gen Fonseka has had a very negative effect as was shown by the pathetic number of votes he polled at the recent election. As I recall you had previously criticised the state of the health service in Sri Lanka today without ever mentioning that every single year during previous thirty it’s piece of the GDP cake had been reduced gradually because of the war effort, and that the last ineffective Health Minister in charge was none other than Sirisena, the present President.

    • 2
      1

      He did not save the nation alone. give him credit for the leadrship but dont forget the hundreds of security personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice. they are the real heroes and saviours. this guy rode in motorcades and choppers and never faced any danger.
      he was and is power crazy to the extent that he was surrounded by thugs, murderers, drug barons and undesirables of every ilk.
      no shedding tears to this man. just rejoice that a new era will dawn on the country and peace and harmony will prevail and hopefully all the leeches who plundered will be brought to task including the ones from the green party.

      • 1
        0

        The soldiers who died are certainly heroes in any book, but under HIS leadership they did NOT make their sacrifices in vain. Before him, they would have been sent out to do battle only to be recalled having suffered physical losses, diminished morale and be confined to barracks BECAUSE of the lack of POLITICAL WILL, an essential element in this type of situation. ONLY Rajapakse was able to provide this latter and he did this against the advice of and concerted pressure from both local and foreign know-alls. The latter are at the forefront today both within and outside of Sri Lanka attacking Rajapakse (and his Generals) because the outcome was NOT the one they desired

    • 14
      1

      “but what cannot be disavowed is the fact that he saved Sri Lanka and it’s inhabitants from continued terrorism.”

      This is the classic pre-historic Sri Lankan Singhalese/Tamil mindset, most times articulated with Oxbridge/Ivy-League language/analytical-tools which has kept the country still stuck in medieval times.

      When you strip away all the hoopla and look at the facts objectively, what we are doing is nothing but paying homage to a man for getting rid of a monster he himself help create.

      Don’t forget the Singhalese youth (JVP) revolted first and it’s just that the Tamil youth were more successful at it.

      If Rajapaksas’ dynastic project succeeded, what sort of a monster Sri Lanka would have had to have to get rid of the Rajapakses?

      Filtering objective truth through one’s Singhalese/Tamil subjective truth fools no one but oneself. But in difficult times there’s comfort to be had in subjective truth.

  • 2
    2

    Successive leaders(and partly voters) since independence have been terrorising the ethnic minorities and we have yet to see if Ranil&Co are going to be different. LTTE was the product of immoral and unethical Sinhala leaders – look up the submissions by Sinhalalese to LLRC.

  • 2
    2

    Let us wait and see if Ranil&Co change the political culture by brining those who dealt with corruption in Rajapakse rule be brought to books and let the future generation learn the right way to rule a country.

  • 2
    0

    Dr Pethiyagoda
    Judge Weeramantry in his submission to LLRC spoke about his research on the constitutions of ‘democratic’ countries in the Southern Hemisphere that shows that they tend towards authoritarianism.

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]
    Please write instead of posting links – CT

  • 14
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    Prof Lasantha Pethiyagoda

    Characteristics Of Third World Dictators & Their Destinies:

    No doubt you have some secret admirers and that is to be expected when there are people who lack analytical skills. I am not one of those and I am at a loss to understand what is so BRILLIANT about your piece. There are so many flaws in your Artice and I am not going to waste my timegoing through all of it but let pick on the following and and ask you to put your hand on heart and answer it.

    1) If fear is the primary motivating factor, there is a sensible way out of this dilemma for former tyrants. Most poor people in third world countries are very forgiving people compared to their rich counterparts.

    *** I am not sure whether you realisze that we live in fear and how hurtful your suggestion is especially when we witnessed thousands of bodies of innocent Tamils strewn accross Nanthikadal all under the Commander In Chief Percy Mahintha Rajapaksa the War Criminal. You really are out of your mind to say that we the Tamils are so forgiving. Speak for yourself the Sinhalese because they are not the victims looking for loved ones. What has wealth go to do with your argument.

    2) The wise head of state would call a meeting of all opposition leaders in a spirit of “national reconciliation” and negotiate a way out. Items for negotiation might include an indemnity, safe passage out of the country in return for the repatriation of the country’s wealth that was looted by their regimes.

    *** This is way over the top and frankly out of order. You are a Prof and hope a decent human being and what you are suggesting amounts to insulting our dignity.

    National Reconicilation: Ask the mothers and father of missing ones to forgive and forget. How dare you.

    Indemnify: Against what. Recurrence of similar atrocities.

    Safe passage out of the country in return for the repatriation of the country’s wealth that was looted by their regimes.

    *** This really is an insult to the Tamil Victims at the hands of the Rajapaksa clan.
    The above amounts to an escape root for the mass murderers in return for the Loot. Return the money and get away with Murder.

    What a BRILLIANT Piece.

    In Sinhala Lanka wonders never cease to exist.

  • 6
    12

    Kali,

    I am asking these questions as you seem to know the answers:

    (1) How many of those killed at Nanthikadal were “camp followers” of the LTTE? That is, how many of them were the non-combatant helpers of the LTTE?

    (2) How many of them were coerced by the LTTE to be the human shield to protect the Tiger leadership?

    (3) How many of them were killed due to wanton shelling by the Sri Lankan Army?

    (4) How much of the Nanthikadal story is propagated to win asylum claims of well to do Tamils seeking refuge in the West?

    (5) How much of this story will be used to force Sri Lankan government to devolve power to the maximum in the North and East?

    Please Kali, do educate us on these matters.

  • 0
    1

    I think all dictators are the same everywhere not just in the third world. Sheikh Hasina (Bangladesh), Hitler, Mao Zedong (China), Vlad III the Impaler (Wallachia) Kim Jong-il (North Korea), king Herod (Israel), Pol Pot (Cambodia), Bashar al-Assad (Syria) and Saddam Hussein (Iraq) were the ten worst dictators in the world. They all executed or killed many, stole public money as they wish and did whatever to put themselves first before the nation. I don’t think we could elevate MR, the SL dictator to top ten. What a pity, he failed that too.

    When dictators force to leave their power base they either die (killed or commit suicide) or hand over power to a close cloner or relative. MR could not do that. That failure is almost like death to him. So is the reason for him to contest to become just a MP after being ousted as the President. What a shameful display of performance compared to other high ranking dictators. At least he should consider seriously resigning with whatever dignity left (obviously not a lot).

  • 2
    1

    Pacs

    “There is little for the Tamil to hope. Be slaves to slaves. Their genome will vanish.”

    Read the above statement aloud to yourself about 10 times and ask yourself if you really believe in what you have written.

    What exactly do you mean that there is little for the Tamil to hope?
    What exactly do you mean by “Slaves to slaves”?
    What evidence have you got that “their genome will vanish” as a result of this appointment? Did one iota of the Tamil genome vanish as a result of JR’s actions? In fact I would say it spread itself around the world a little bit more as a result of mass migration.

    What is it that you want which you cannot get right now (apart from the ridiculous cry for a separate state)? You can live peacefully in SL and achieve whatever you want.

    If I were a Tamil I would want this genome to vanish because being a Tamil does not serve the world one iota. The Tamil friends I have are nothing exceptional. In fact and more often than not they make disgrace out of themselves – they have no manners, have no finesse in how they conduct themselves, are stingy to the bone where they don’t even want to buy a cup of coffee for themselves, just save money as if they are going to take it with them but then hand it down to the next generation in generous dowries and live miserly and boring lives. They do not go on holidays and if they do go overseas they live with relatives to save on hotel accommodation; are vegetarian so they are happy with a roti and dhal and they save the money that goes towards meat; are heavy boozers and die of heart attacks by the time they reach 65.

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