Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm in charge. Let there be billboards!

Ok, so after Tunisia, and now in Egypt, we see riots of repressed people shouting for freedom and the possibility of overthrowing authoritarian regimes. But freedom and democracy, whilst instinctively attractive, would have certain downsides, including the loss of the principal point of one-party states: the cult of the Maximum Leader, Imperator, Man of Destiny, and with it, his image everywhere. (I can't think of a female dictator. Margaret Thatcher could only dream of this level of sycophancy...) Let there be billboards!

Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi was always a reticent wallflower....

Whereas in Yemen, you get to buy your own Ali Abudallah Saleh. ("Buy one, get one, free?"; soon enough, "Buy one, get one, flee..")

Hosni Mubarak smiles benignly from Egyptian streetlamps...

...but no-one compares with Gaddafi-as-multifaceted-visionary

Royalists don't need to feel left out - here's Jordan's King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein keeping an eye on things in Amman...

... but in this selection, only Syria's Bashir al-Assad gets to watch over his people night and day.

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