Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eleven steps that Middle Eastern despots take

The latest episode of This American Life: Know when to fold 'em has a segment by Nancy Updike on the current spate of trouble in the Middle East. She lists the 11 actions dictators take on the path to losing power:
  1. Shut down the internet
  2. Send thugs (on foot or horseback)
  3. Attack and arrest journalists
  4. Shoot people
  5. Promise to investigate who shot people
  6. Do a meaningless political reshuffle
  7. Blame Al Jazeera
  8. Organise paid demonstrations in favor of your regime
  9. Make a condescending speech about how much you love the youth
  10. Threaten that the country will fall into chaos without you
  11. Blame foreign agitators
Stage 12 which remains unspoken is simply 'Leave - get out'.

She spoke to Mark Lynch from the Middle East Studies program at George Washington University, and he got excited because Arabic language media have been publishing almost the same kinds of lists, and commenting sarcastically according to the stage the particular dictator has reached.

I wonder if we could draw up a similar list for labour party governments - or indeed coalition governments - especially in their 2nd terms. Anyone want to try?

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