These dictators have to some, possibly measurable, extent, been pissing off the whole world.
It is developing into some kind of tragic, ritual game, played as follows:
- Dictator suppresses free speech, uses media as personal megaphone
- Locks up anyone who criticises without trial, but with secret police
- Tortures people
- Steals peoples' money and has $billion personal balances
- After about a generation of this kind of thing, people gather in the streets and say "Enough!"
- Dictator responds with riot police, teargas, water cannon and batons.
- People persist in ever greater numbers.
- Dictator opens prisons, pays released criminals, thugs and plainclothed police officers to attack people.
- People beat off attacks
- Dictator uses live rounds and people get killed.
- When enough people have been killed, the world's media begins to take an interest.
- Pressure builds up on the politicians to Do Something
- A round of talks and meetings ensues
- Condemnatory statements of increasing severity are read to the dictator.
- Eventually his assets are frozen, travel bans issued (hopefully with exemptions for dictators fleeing into exile).
- Demonstrators continue despite fatalities.
- Police stations & Government buildings will be set on fire, but still the demonstrations are otherwise non-violent.
- Members of the police, armed forces, and Government begin to ally with the people.
- Dictator makes speeches of defiance, promising to stay forever.
- Dictator falls.
- General rejoicing, laced with uncertainty as to what to do next.
The problem we have here is that we have (almost) three down, but a hell of a lot of other dictators to go. The Index below shows 17 countries who are possible candidates.
Rather than play Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya out another 14 times, it would be nice to have an orderly transition.
The demonstration in numbers is a necessary human socio-political function. It is our equivalent of a swarm.
So, let's sketch out an alternative scenario:
- After about a generation of political abuse, people gather in the streets and say "Enough!"
- When the police judge that there are enough people there to be a bit of a problem for traffic &c, they introduce elected speakers for the swarm to members of government.
- Talks about talks lead to talks themselves.
- The process of negotiation is continued in the body of the crowd, being fully in the picture of what is being discussed.
- An opening is made in Government to accept the speakers for the people (who can go home at any time of their choosing, continuing their participation online.
- The speakers (suggested number: 3-8) negotiate directly with Government at Cabinet level.
Suggested negotiation aims:
- Resignation of President, and selected members of the Cabinet. (aiming high here)
- release of all political prisoners.
- Disbanding of secret police.
- Free press and internet comms.
- Elections as soon as possible.
- Radical transition to a full employment, stable, sustainable economy.
"Nice idealistic idea, but no idea of the practicalities. It just ain't gonna happen".
OK. Not like that, directly. But we can have a think about what it would take to bring this about.
At the UN level, the changes required are relatively straightforward
The change would come at point 10 above:
10: Dictator uses live rounds and people get killed.
At this point the UN should automatically trigger meetings that have been in preparation since the demonstrations began. Meetings of the Regional Organisations, UNSC, UNHRC which will be able to order the deployment of some or all of these measures:
- Immediate asset freeze, this having been warned of prior to the event.
- Immediate travel ban on the dictator and high level associates except for purposes of exile.
- Targeted sanctions on the regime, designed not to affect the people.
- Plans and preparations for a no fly zone, should that be requested by the people, and any provisional government.
Global Human Rights Index