Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi died in utter humiliation, and surely no decent human being laments his passing. It now seems Bashar al-Assad is anxious to follow him to an ignominious grave. Why do such people prefer to cause incalculable suffering, and themselves experience profound disgrace and early death, rather than acknowledge the spirit of the populations they presume to govern? There was a time when both men could have retired with honour and fabulous riches, but, if “Death be the wages of sin,” Gaddafi has been paid and Assad may expect payment will not be long delayed.
It may now be too late for Assad to avoid his own demise, but, even now, by a cessation of murdering the people his position requires him to protect, he might yet retrieve some shred of honour. So why does he persist in his wild attacks on the Syrian population?
May I suggest, incredible as it seems, he sees no choice. Assad’s ego gives him the rigid insistence that he is the president; he has formed the false belief that he is entitled to rule for all time and under all circumstances. He is in denial of all the duties of honour and service that justify the very existence of the office of president, and believes duty is not something that applies to him. He may even have convinced himself, as Henry VIII did before him, that whatever he chooses is the best for his country; such is the course of this form of insanity. So it is he would rather be destroyed than give up these beliefs – after all, the death and suffering of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of his own people means nothing to Assad against the fact that he is president, so it is with tyrants.
There are tyrants, such as Mugabe and those of North Korea, who somehow are tolerated by their populations, despite their worst abuses. It appears plain this will not be Assad’s fate. Of course there are a number of rulers around the World who may tremble at the risk of the righteous wroth of their own populations, perhaps this makes them slow to condemn the likes of Assad, they share his madness.
So it is we come to Putin’s government of Russia, and the Communist government of China. Both countries are used to tyranny; it is probable that Stalin killed more of his own people than were killed by Germans in World War Two (a fact many Russians would prefer to forget) while nobody knows how many tens of millions died because Mao Zedong instructed farmers to make steel instead of growing crops (a fact the Chinese would also like to forget). Of course it is no coincidence that it is these two nations, Russia and China, that vetoed U.N. sanctions against Syria this month.
I do not know what may be done about China. On the other hand, Russia is part of Europe, since the days of Peter the Great it has aspired to be part of Western Culture, it styles itself a democracy, and Vladimir Putin would like to be elected president (again).
Do you believe in democracy? Then let us put it to the test.
It is not unreasonable that any population would prefer to think well rather than badly of the people who govern, not to think this is uncomfortable, especially for those unused to balanced political debate. It appears not unreasonable to believe the T.V. and printed news, by which what is happening in Syria is far less horrifying than is truly the case. That the people of Russia are not engaged with the reality does not show they have no humanity, it does not show approval of the murder of women, children and foreign journalists. In fact, the people of Russia are capable of being very sentimental, they can be encouraged to care and to vote (even in rigged elections) if they are shown the truth. Besides which, if their leaders are strangers to the Rule of Law, and have no care for the people they rule, what does that bode for the Russians themselves? Which of them would really want to return to the horrors of Stalinism?
Why should we care, in the West, with our freedom of expression and use of the Internet? Which readers of this article would like to return to the Cold War, with a rogue government in the Kremlin? Perhaps you think I exaggerate, after all, Putin has already been President. Please remember; murder in London, and an invasion of Georgia, as well as Gas wars and economic decay. That was with Putin being unchallenged, and everyone trying to be ‘nice.’
What you can do about it:
Take this article and paste it wherever you can,
Blog and email,
Post news of the plight of Syria, wherever a Russian might read it.
With your help the West can show it cares about the Arab Spring, and move the Russian people to reject tyranny.