Being away from the computer for a mere 24 hours shows that a lot can happen! I returned home from NYC to find out that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had been killed, thus punctuating the end of over-long era.
The fate of Gaddafi–the first of the Arab Spring dictators to be killed- is one that all dictators who rule with an iron fist (are there any who don’t??) must know is always a possibility down the line. True, Ben Ali of Tunisia managed to escape whatever fate the Tunisians had in store for him by fleeing to Saudi Arabia. Hosny Mubarak of Egypt was arrested, stripped of his millions and his dignity as he was wheeled into court. Will he be punished by death, like Gaddafi? Gaddafi’s fate might seem like the worst punishment, but in a sense it isn’t. Mubarak certainly has it worse as he is forced to sit chained in the grille box that criminals sit in in court: that level of humility is high. Ben Ali, although “free,” is exiled from the country of his birth and everything that implies–certainly not a light sentence. It makes one wonder: how does it feel to be a former leader removed from power by the citizens you once ruled who came to loathe you?
Alas, little sympathy can be spared for such figures, as they have run their countries into the ground economically, had dissenters silenced and/or murdered and basically used their power for corruption. These are people who appear to have little empathy. Wasn’t Saddam Hussein still cursing the Americans just before he was hanged, saying we’d all go to hell? You would think that he might have felt a bit of remorse for what he had done, seeing that if he hadn’t been so greedy in the first place he wouldn’t have become reviled, captured and executed. I don’t suppose there’s ever been a dictator who actually did good for their country.