“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. “
This statement clearly illustrates the logic according to which dictators along history operated: creating side wars to stay in power. They all obey this logic. Not only does it give them the power to unite the nations under their rule, but it also gives them the right to accuse anyone who dares to rebel of being a traitor. Though highly debated, the statement was attributed to Julius Caesar, a famous roman general and tyrant. Caesar, who conquered many armies and won a lot of battles for Rome, is not known for this alone, yet he changed the way Rome was ruled. No longer chosen by election, the consuls were chosen by Caesar himself, and for this he is considered a tyrant.
However, in my opinion, Caesar is more or less a democratic ruler compared to the Arabic neo-Caesars. He united the people behind him by setting them on the search for some fictional national goals; in contrast, the Arab dictators are all willing to destroy their countries (as if they have built it to begin with) and divide their nations to stay in power!
In Egypt, Mubarak and his supporters tried their best to divide the nation and make it look as if the whole country’s unity is based on Mubarak in power. In Libya, Saif Gaddafi promised the Libyans a bloody decade that will leave them nothing but demise if they proceed with the uprising against his father. And in Yemen, Ali Saleh repeated his threats with a civil war more than he repeated his false promises with reforms. Bashar Assad of Syria is a special case; he played the civil war card like the others, but on top of that he threatened the world that the safety of the Israel, the national enemy of his people and the entity which occupies part of Syria, will be endangered in case he was removed from power! so, if there is one thing which all of the aforementioned shared –besides stupidity–, it is that none of them used a common enemy to unite the nation under his rule, as has tyrants along history always done.
The part about Caesar’s story which I like is that Caesar was eventually removed from power. He was killed by the hands of his best friend Brutus, and when that happened he was strongly shocked. His last words were: ” Even You Brutus?!”. History repeats itself. The same happened in the cases of Mubarak, Qaddafi and Saleh, all of which had the same feeling Caesar felt. Apparently, they never imagined that their people would ever go in the streets chanting the famous slogan “The people want the regimen to fall”. Right now, I’m heartily hoping that it will not be long before Bashar gets the same feeling.