Are You Sitting Comfortably? – Then I’ll Begin.

These words from Salman Rushdie in his novel Shame seem apt in light of the Arab Spring:

How does a dictator fall? There is an old saw which states, with absurd optimism, that it is in the nature of tyrannies to end. One might as well say that it is also in their nature to begin, to continue, to dig themselves in, and, often, to be preserved by greater powers than their own.

Well, well, I mustn’t forget I’m only telling a fairy-story. My dictator will be toppled by goblinish, faery means. ‘Makes it pretty easy for you,’ is the obvious criticism; and I agree, I agree. But add, even if it does sound a little peevish: ‘ You try and get rid of a dictator sometime.’

A fairy story? Seems to hit the right note when you consider that even with an organised Rebel uprising and NATO air support it took months to oust Colonel Gaddafi.

And Syria? Consider Rushdie’s words: ‘to be preserved by greater powers than their own.’ Makes you wonder if Syrians would be looking at a very different future right now if  the UN or NATO or America or Europe or Russia or Israel had chosen to step in as some did in Libya.

Meanwhile, the Saudi regime finds it easier to head off unrest by announcing social and economic reforms totalling $100 bn. Indeed, this might sound a little peevish too, but, I guess, it’s easy if you have the money

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