There have been several dictators throughout history, who though they have not achieved the media status of Hitler, nevertheless managed to ruthlessly rule their nation and population. (Stalin, the ally of the U.S. in WWII, was more of a dictator than Hitler! Oh, the ironies of history and the things left out of the history books!) Of course, all dictators have many things in common, such as secret police, a closed society, censorship, total control of the media, demands for cult/hero worship (his picture in every house, his books on every shelf, etc.) using people and the country for his own interest, dirty wars, vanished or tortured citizens. No dystopian society can exist without a proper dictator. Here is a list of dictators in history, each worthy of more study, who have caught my attention in my readings:
1. Santa Domingo – Trujillo. I first heard about him from my reading of The Brief and Wondrous LIfe of Oscar Wao. A great read by the way.
2. Haiti – Doc Duvalier. Currently, I’m reading The Comedians by Graham Greene, which is set in Haiti. Doc and his Touton Macoutes are infamous. This is a “dark” read, and different from other books I’ve ready by Greene, but I am intrigued by it.
3. Iraq – Saddam. Stating the obvious here, but I didn’t want to forget him.
4. North Korea – Kim Jong-il.
5. Libya – Qaddafi.
6. Pinochet – Chile. (Aside: Have you noticed how the Chilean flag is so similar to the Texas flag?)
7. Cuba – Castro
8. Argentina – Galtieri
9. Yugoslavia – Tito
10. Soviet Union – Lenin, Stalin, Krushev (Seems to be a utopia for dictators!) I learned about these tyrants from reading all of Solzhenitsyn’s books. (Yes, I have read ALL of them)
There are many other dictators, of course, and often these same countries had more than one. You can take a “Which Dictator Are You?” quiz here:
Bradley, Arkansas School Programs Thursday
Tomorrow, I’ll be in Bradley, Arkansas, presenting my programs at the ISD there. Ginny Boyd is the wonderful librarian who is in charge of my programs. The rest of the weekend is up in the air, as I am overburdened with tasks that must be done this weekend and have several options (and all conflicting interests). Fall and spring are the BUSY season for storytellers and authors who are promoting their books. Thank God, I’m an author in a country where I can publish and promote my writing, even if some it is what some would consider politically incorrect, or at least on the edge of being politically incorrect.