Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Psychology of Autocratic Dictators

Some of the past and present dictators of many colours

Photos courtesy (clockwise from top left):,,,,,,,, and

Two of the Present Dictators Gone

The second domino has fallen. The first one was Tunisia, where common people took to the streets and rose up against its brutal dictator President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The president resigned and fled the country on January 14 after four-week people's revolution where people bravely faced arrests, police brutality and bullets. This unexpected revolution brings in a new era in the Arabic-speaking world where many other dictators are still in power.

After the fall of the first domino, Mis'r (Egypt) -- the second domino -- followed suit. Tunisia-like two-week-old people's uprising in Egypt, on February 11, brought down President Hosni Mubarak who resigned from his position and handed his power over to the armed forces. Thus comes the end of his 30-year autocratic reign, unashamedly supported by western powers of Europe and America, the fierce upholders of democracy in their own countries.

According to observers and experts, these street revolutions resulted from unbridled corruption, nepotism, cronyism, human rights violations, inflation (price increase), unemployment and increasing marginalization (poverty) of common people.

Observers think that, after Tunisia and Egypt, countries like Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon may face similar people's confrontations.

Autocratic dictators are From and Of Many Colours

What do Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) of Germany, Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) of the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong (1893-1976) of the People's Republic of China, Shah (Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi: 1919-1980) of Iran, General Ayub Khan (1907-1974) of Pakistan, Saddam Hussain (1937-2006) of Iraq, Idi Amin (1925-2003) of Uganda, Kim Jong Il (1941- ) of North Korea, and Hosni Mubarak (1928- ) of Egypt have in common? Autocratic dictatorship, of course.

What is autocracy? Governing by a single person who has limitless power. What is dictatorship? Having absolute governmental authority that is considered tyrannical or oppressive.

The Psychology of Autocratic Dictators

Autocratic dictators come in many shades. Some are worst ones, few others worse, and the rest bad, depending on the degrees of their psychotic behaviour, misuse of power and position, disregard of human rights and irresponsibility towards their fellow citizens.

One doesn't need a degree in psychology to understand the behaviours of autocratic dictators. If one looks at their background and life and uses common sense, he or she finds the following characteristics in them:

  • Autocratic dictators are clever people. They know how to manipulate people, issues and events to reach their goal of ultimate positions of power.
  • They are great lovers of their seats and positions of power. They want to hold on to the seat even if the seat gets worn out from constant misuse. They can't see themselves seatless, because, they think, they can't cope with that situation. Moreover, they are also afraid of retribution once they lose their seats.
  • They consider themselves indispensable. They hallucinate that their absence from power will create confusion, chaos and regression in the country. In other words, they can't trust any other person to be in power. Some of them get the country's laws changed to make them the "President for Life."
  • They are afflicted with phobias (fears). Fears breed more fears. Fears make them do what they do. They spend more time in pursuing or fending off their perceived enemies than doing good for the majority people.
  • They are control-freaks. They want to have everyone and everything under their control. Persons disagreeing with their ideas, plans and actions, are considered to be enemies and punished accordingly.
  • They are vengeful persons. Unless they take revenge on a dissenter, rival or enemy, they suffer from severe anxiety. After the revenge is taken, they feel much more, if not fully, relieved.
  • They are megalomaniacs. Self-grandeur and omnipotence are part and parcel of them. They want their own photos and paintings to be hung from offices and homes. Billboards and wall murals sing their achievements. They force the media to propagate prominently the pumped-up news about them. Their bust photos adorn the paper money and stamps when they are still in power. Moreover, they take up grandiose projects (construction of real big buildings and monuments, unnecessarily increasing the number of police and armed forces, and waging wars with neighbouring countries) and force their citizens to cooperate with their plans and designs. They give a big smile when citizens give false praise and ululation.
  • They love to violate the human rights of fellow citizens. They act against the right to citizens' freedom of gathering, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and taking recourse to the law.
  • They suffer from the inferiority complex. They mostly come from low or most humble backgrounds and go to the top position by manipulation and other unjustified means and they want to compensate for that by doing what they do.
  • They badly lack in soft qualities. The qualities of love, charity, respect for others' dignity and rights, accountability or answerability to others, empathy, sympathy, freedom, apology, pardon, considering others as equal beings, democratic principles and the like do not find enough space in their brains. Everyone knows that soft qualities are integral to a mature person.
  • They have an inordinate love for jails and prisons. They enjoy building or expanding the capacity of these institutions. That's why during their reigns, jails and prisons are always full of dissenters, competitors, rivals and enemies.
  • They have an angry and arrogant personality. They are quick to fire up with anger and arrogance. They can't tolerate dissent or counter-suggestion.
  • They use the police and armed forces as their personal "lathials." In Bangla (Bengali), the word lathial means a goon used for intimidating a dissenter, competitor, rival, or enemy.
  • They love to secure their future by looting the state treasury. In spite of their great pay and benefits as the chiefs of their countries, they do not consider it a thievery or wrong in diverting a great amount of money from the country's treasury. They stash away this money in local and foreign banks in their own or others' names so that they and their descendants may live lavishly in future. Their lust for power and greed always go hand in hand.
  • They are smart in exacting patronage and support from big power governments. The big powers, for their own interests of financial investments, selling of supplies to police and armed forces and receiving loyalty towards them, naturally support the dictators by funding the countries' economies and giving moral support. They also know it well that dictators can keep their countries more or less stable and chaosfree.
  • In fine, autocratic dictators, in their countries, bring in more negative effects than positive ones. Instead of bringing in more smile and happiness among greater number of citizens, they create greater pain, suffering and death.

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