Monday 26 Sep 2016

Stupid Dictator
AJ Robinson

This time of year, the month of September always gets me thinking of the freedoms we cherish so highly. Recent events highlight how precious those freedoms are; take the civil war in Libya. Seeing the devastation of the nation made me think just how stupid some dictators can be.

Libya has a population of about six and a half million and it makes billions, upwards of sixty to ninety billion, every year in oil revenue. For over forty years, Muammar Gaddafi has been ruler of the country, and he’s sucked it dry of that oil money. His people have lived in abject poverty and terror; as he’s used all manner of torture, secret police and so forth to keep Libyans oppressed.

Now, the nation is in full revolt, he and his entourage, forced to flee, and the people are finally getting a look at the opulence and splendour Gaddafi and his family enjoyed. All of this, mind you, as his people barely scratched out an existence.

Yeah, he was a very stupid dictator.

Think about it, if he had just taken half or even a quarter of the oil money that came into the Libyan coffers each year and spent it on his people, he never would have had a problem. He and his family could have still enjoyed the height of decadence and privilege, and his people could have had so much. He could have built homes, roads, water and power systems, hospitals, schools and so on.

 If all he made their lives marginally better each year, the Libyan people would have thought he was a great leader. They would have been loyal forever. He would need no terror tactics, no secret police and no torture.

He could have remained “president for life” or whatever silly title he gave himself, passed his “position” on to one of his sons, and been given a state funeral to rival an emperor of ancient Rome. His people would have worshipped him as a living gawd, wept at his passing, and named generations of children after him!

Yeah, Gaddafi is quite the stupid dictator.

His statues and images now fall; smashed and spat on. There’s a price on his head. Libyans will rejoice when they hear d of his execution.

I think about Gaddafi. I can’t help recall that line from the movie, “Wall Street,” when greed was good. Granted, Gaddafi’s an extreme example, but it still makes the case; you have to wonder: how much is enough?

Here is a man who literally had everything that any man could possibly want. Yet, it wasn’t enough, and he could never entertain the notion of making do with even a little less than all he could think of. Like a modern day King Midas, he had everything, and he wanted more.

I find it sad to see the same attitude reflected in so many people today. They have so much, and the idea of doing with less so that those less fortunate might live a little better never enters their minds. Will those consumed by greed ever have enough?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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