Dictator of the day

I’ve been staring at this page all day while trying to avoid getting into any political conversations. It didn’t really work.

Even my mother started talking politics to me and that never happens! I guess it’s just the times we live we. Gone are the days when only the law makers and ministers discussed politics over breakfast. Now it is us, the average person doing whatever it is we do and it’s not just over breakfast or at special occasions. Now we talk politics on social media while we’re discussing which celebrity got arrested last night and it’s normal… we talk about politics like it’s our business.

And that is great! It is our business! As much as we’d like to pretend we can separate ourselves from our government, we can’t because their choices impact us. We can’t just let them go on pretending to be above the law. And I guess it is this realization that has lead to the many protests in Northern Africa. We are the people and it is our countries that are being destroyed by greedy leaders who care about power more than poverty.

We are the people and it is our families who have to carry the consequences of our actions. Our children have to live with the people we voted into parliament. And now we are expecting our children, who’ve lived their whole lives under this suppression, to stand up and fight. Well sure, they are motivated but their motivation comes from hatred and frustration. Is that really the type of people we want ruling our country in the long run? Is that really the legacy we want to leave? This type of anger and hate leads to an ‘it was done to me so I will do onto others’ mentality. This is why countries have such a hard time breaking the cycle of suppression.

One of the African countries that have actually become the model of all transitions [even used in Ireland and several countries in Europe] has been South Africa. They went from full on Apartheid and whites only bathrooms to wearing the same rugby jerseys in the 5 years between Mandela’s release and winning the Rugby world cup. They got a Nobel Peace Prize for it. And even though Madiba said: “Never again will this country suffer the oppression of one by another” in no uncertain terms… some are still angered by the past and several who aren’t old enough to remember the past are feeling that same anger building up because they are now being ‘punished’ for their ancestors choices. South Africa has to fight this battle every single day and fortunately they have figured out that sport really does help the process of unity… well at least while they’re winning.

My point is this: it’s not fair to pin your hopes on the youth and say that they are stronger and fiercer in the fight for freedom. They may have strong reasons they believe in for fighting or more accurately protesting but what happens then? What happens when they win and they get the bad guy out? Are you seriously expecting these kids who’ve endured so much suffering in their short life time to not hold a grudge? A grudge against anyone? Be realistic: we need to change this revolution.

This way of fighting is not sustainable. Fighting against everyone who has done something to harm them cannot teach our leaders of the future how to be fair and good. I’ll say it again [the same thing I’ve been saying for the last 2 months] we need to find a leader to fight for not just one to fight against. Think about it for a second. Having a common enemy has a tendency to unite people but once you have destroyed that enemy, what do you still have in common? Maybe the celebration party will hold you together for a while but sooner or later one group will want to claim that it was their idea and then you’re back where you started: divided.

We seem to be doing things backwards. We need to find someone who will, in the long term situation, unite us and fight for us or at least stand by us while we fight. Until we have that one person who can take over from the dictator of the day, we are fighting a losing battle. Of course I agree that getting rid of dictators is not a pointless act but I’ve just been raised to focus on sustainability and well, getting rid of bad leaders without replacing them with a good one, run the risk of allowing another immoral leader to take his place. And my fear being that this leader is younger, so he will have more time to destroy his country. If you’ve ever been part of a revolution or protest like this, in the actual country that is under duress, then you will understand how frightening it is and how much it takes out of you, not just physically but also emotionally. This is why protests like this do not happen within another 20 years of the last. A country needs time to recover; a people needs time to heal and a government in the mean time has free reigns because the people are still comparing them to the dictator that they just crushed. Face it: compared to a dictator most leaders will seem brilliant.

I keep looking around and wondering why it is Africa that is going crazy at the moment and then I remember that it isn’t just Africa with messed up leaders. Europe still has issues from their past haunting them and who really knows what’s going on in Asian? Are we the only ones fighting for freedom? No! Of course not! Are we the only ones whose lives are actually being endangered by peaceful protests? No! Of course not! Are we the only ones being arrested for watching the news? Well… maybe… But so what? Freedom is worth risking everything for! Right?

I am a long term planner, so if I do not see a positive outcome that will benefit my children, I will not risk my family for a small victory. It has been said that you need to pick your battles and once you do, you need to make sure you do not lose! Unfortunately getting rid of the sitting president is not my definition of a victory. My definition of winning is having a fair and just leader who can not only fix the mistakes his previous president made but also lead his people into a democracy where they will feel represented.

Obviously I cannot offer a solution or a leader. But this entire revolution has been based on people speaking out and standing up for all the things they believe in. The essence of freedom. So you can judge me all you like and call me names I hope my children will never have to learn but I am not willing to protest against something. I am all for protesting for something or someone but the negativity that comes with fighting one idea, rather than for one, is not worth it. Not to me.

Just sharing my view,

AM

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