Mar 1, 2011

Ugly Dictators With A Friendly Face

I have through my life met or been in contact with some of them. Men with power, but not elected to office.  They have entered the presidential office with a weapon in their hand. I remember one in particular. He had been president for decades and did not think of him self as a servant of the people, but he was the personified will of the people. He thought he was the only one who could rule the nation. It was of course a bit surrealistic to visit him.

In his garden, outside the presidential palace, there were young soldiers, sitting under some green threes, with heavy guns, looking on every visitor. I greeted them of course, as I am polite, but they did not notice me at all. They were just focusing on dangers which perhaps could occur at any time. But as I was a women with no intention to making a coup I was asked to move forward and walk in the direction of the main entrance to the presidency.

Still, while passing all these soldiers, I felt a bit shaky. They could shut me down at every minute. The human nature is like that, one can not know the weakest link in the chain, and some could have just gone mad at that very moment , tired of sitting there with the gun, thirsty in the sun, hot tempered in the heath. One never really know when a person loose control. These were some of my reflections while walking to the door to the office of the Head of State.

Did I tell you that he kept some old silent turtle in the garden as well?

In fact the oldest one in the nation, protected by the president and his many soldiers. They would of course neither harm him or protect him, but a president also have its pleasure. One of them was looking on these animals which slowly moved around.

Inside the palace, I decided to take the stair. But I was not alone, as for every five steps, there happen to be a king size man with dark glasses. Imported guards from the South Africa. They did not look on me, but still they did. I could feel their way of observing everything – without moving their head or glance. Strange, but very well trained in a camp for high security service, which is of course very costly and only available for those who can afford it.

A president can pay, and are in need of protection. I was told later. By the most prominent bishop of the country.

Of course, it was obvious, this president had gone through hard lessons. Several coup attempt had made him not only a bit nervous, but also a control freak. I was told that in his office, there were files on every person in the nation which possible could treat him. According to one of my sources, there were perhaps only a few man left – and the turtle in the garden.

What could I expect when entering the office?
A smiling secretary, sitting in front of a desk with lots of papers. Very normal in fact. The walls was brown. Rather usual as well. But the doors were all heavy, padded, it seemed.

I did not have to wait a long time. Some presidents or prominent leaders has some whims regarding appointments, letting people wait and make sure that you really get the feeling of being worth an audience with the lord of the land. But not this one. He was disciplined and ready to talk.

And finally, he was coming, greeting me with a white washed hand. His smile was friendly. His eyes as well.  To be honest with you, he was very nice and a very good with jokes. Although talking about politics, about the powerful USA, the manipulative Russian or Chinese and the polite but insignificant Britain, he did it with great charm and a kind of enthusiasm which a man of his age an in power for such a long time would perhaps not have anymore. Actually he enjoyed talking about politics, not the small map, but the very big one. Conflicts of interests between big powers, which he always noticed and put attention to, in case it could offer him and his country some opportunities.

You have already guessed. Yes, he liked playing chess.

One started to forget about the camps, the terrorism, the dictatorial style of government, the harsh condition for oppositions, which this very nice man with good manners had established in his nation. One nearly started to forget all the girls he had misused in his need of physical satisfactions.  I say nearly, because it came up in my mind while he was reading a very beautiful poem. People in power are great contradictions, and one can often wonder if they are really sane, those men - as they usually are men, who rule for decades, with out being voted in to office in a free and fair election.

Well, they certainly eat almost the same diet as you and me,  but they have an stamina for power which make them ruthless. Pity, they do not understand their own nature and that there are one rule which seems to be true: if you put a gun in the face of a person, you will one day be met with a gun you self.

Still, this  is often the reality for today`s dictators as well. If they are not running away, in the late dark evening.

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