Dictators can never be “benevolent”

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This is in reaction to the letter to the editor: “Filipinos can learn from Musharraf

First, the late Ninoy Aquino should have not been compared with Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto. Though they both originate from influential rich class, they could not be similar. And, it is also wrong to suggest the situation in Pakistan could have been similar in the Philippines had Ninoy not been murdered.

Second, the Congress should have not given Medal of Achievement in 2005 to Gen. Pervez Musharraf. It was a complete stupidity if not lunacy for members of a duly elected members of Congress to confer award on a person who seized power in a military coup and declare himself as both President and Chief of Staff of Pakistan’s armed forces.

To discuss whether or not the award should be recalled is worthless, but declaring it null and void giving explanation why is it so, would perhaps help members of the Congress in 2005 to regain their credibility and intellectual judgement.

Third, there can never be “benevolent” dictator. Weighing the country’s economic progress as basis of good leadership is an old school notion which had been exploited by dictators, authoritarian, police state, and other countries who had histories of tremendous abuses. These are the leaders, to mention a few, Chile’s Pinochet, Cambodia’s Pol Pot, Indonesia’s Suharto, Marcos and others who perpetrate large scale corruption and murders.

Democracy does not develop overnight yet it matures over the time . It heavily depends on how established a country’s institutions are, particularly the independence of the judiciary. The strength of democracy depends on the strength of its legal institution. That is why Musharaff systematically targeted judges and lawyers because, as he admits, they are blocking his way, and justifies his lunacy on pretext of saving the nation by stepping aside democracy.

Marcos too used this lines when he declared Martial Law on pretext of saving the nation from escalating communist insurgency in 1971.

It is sad that while thousands of lawyers arrested and judges place under house arrest all over Pakistan, there are still squabbles like this. Worst, to suggest that the Filipinos could learn from a dictator and self-criticized our own democracy.

I’m sure, had today been Marcos regime, or I’m in Burma and China, this letter to the editor I am writing would have not been published. Or, this blog would have been tracked down by intelligence agents.

And this is what is happening in Pakistan today, laws and ordinances are imposed to silence critics, government seized operation of media outlets, journalist are systematically attacked.

Our democracy is maturing that any acts like this would face tremendous resistance from Filipinos, I believe.

Photo by http://www.mtholyoke.edu

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Filed under Human Rights, Laws, Letter to the editor, Military, Public opinion

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