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2.12.2011

When Tyrants Tremble




When Tyrants tremble sick with fear
And hear their death knells ringing
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing!

There are some despots shaking in their boots today. It is not unusual for them. Those who dish out fear have the most of it to spare, but today especially they fear that they may really lose their grip. They are calling their slimy advisors and making plans. They are right now stacking bribes and threats to make sure that they do not lose control of THEIR militaries.

Tunisia threw out Ben Ali, and then Egypt ridded themselves of Mubarik in half the time and with considerable less violence. The North African revolution may not be over.

From way down South, The Rev Doctor Desmond Tutu has this to say. 

“Brothers & sisters of Egypt, you have given the world the most precious gift: the belief that ultimately right will prevail.”

What a consistently humble man he is.  Because much of the world would say that the South African revolution of the last decade of the 20th century was an earlier example of the same thing. I sincerely hope that Madiba is well enough to watch what is going on up North. He set the ultimate example by leading a mostly peaceful revolution, taking the reins of power when elected and then laying them down in due time and walking away. A stunning example. One not followed very often in Africa.

This is one of our deep blessings in the USA that we take for granted. Love them or hate them, you can vote them out. They will actually leave the White house when they lose. They will shake the hand of their successor and wish them luck. Anyone who thinks that our government is kind of despotic needs to take a vacation in the neighborhood of an actual despot. I would suggest Harare. I would also suggest that the new democracies put into their constitutions protections and pensions for retiring presidents. Some African despots hang on simply because there would be nothing else for them to go on to. We are a country rich in ex-presidents. Some of them are better ex-presidents than they were presidents. Obama is young, he is going to make a great ex-president in two years or in six. He isn’t thinking about this yet, but I bet his wife is.

Even a non-violent revolution is not without bloodshed. They say that there are 300 martyrs in the Egyptian protest. But poverty and disenfranchisement kill more in nearly every country in Africa on a daily basis. If this transition is accomplished with even some level of transparency and results in some kind of free elections, the heroes of this revolution will be the Egyptian Military. Somewhere high up there is a general or generals who decided to try neutrality, and maybe more. They saved their nation. Now they must follow Mandela’s example and hold their ground, facilitate change, put out fires, and then step away. Really, it’s an awful lot to expect from an Army. May they be up to it. 

If they are, I believe that the continent will change. One way or another. 

The villains of this revolution will be the phone companies. Vodaphone is everywhere in Africa, they make their bread from the masses, and they knuckled under. The next job of the Egyptian protestors should be to make Vodaphone et al pay economically. The people are only beginning to taste their power.

I am glad that the Obama administration and the rest of the world mostly stayed out of it, at least on the public side. The worst sin of colonialism is to think that you know better for them than they know for them. The Egyptian people did this themselves. They own the glory.

Kenya almost tipped over into Chaos in 08. But the revolution was not completed there. Its leaders need to pay attention.
 
Maybe Bashir has been watching and reading the signs, and so he will actually let Juba go.  Then he needs to go.

The people of Ethiopia are watching, Chad is watching, Ertitrea is watching. All of Africa now had satellite dishes and cell phones. There are at least a dozen despots who need replacing, and a dozen more potential despots.

Mr Mugabe, you have just been served! 

Mr. Museveni in Kampala, when you took power you said that no African leader should be in power any longer than 10 years. That was 24 years ago. You have been given notice.

Mr. Kagame. You have turned into what you once said you hated. It is time to let go and model the elder statesman.

And Pierre Nkuruziza, in my dear Burundi. WATCH! You say you want a prosperous Burundi as a part of an East African Union. Prosperity is best built on peace and freedom. I drove around your barricaded office last summer, as you holed up, fearful of Al Shabab. When bold risk takers become old men barricaded behind their fear, they are of no use to their people. They often become a curse to their people. It is not too late to change!

 So enjoy your fear old men! You earned it. 


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Comments:
Friend so speaks my mind about leaders who subject themselves to elections and LEAVE OFFICE when they lose / their term limits expire!
 
One Year Later: The Egyptian Military has failed the test. The Syrian people are dying for their attempt. Iran needs to wake up before it's president destroys their hope.

It continues
 
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