Two things…

Spare a thought for the 46 Zimbabweans who were arrested by Robert Mugabe’s Gestapo-like police force recently for attending a lecture discussing the recent uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Some of those arrested were allegedly also tortured.

We all know quite well that Mugabe is hell-bent on retaining power, but resorting to manufacturing absurd charges of treason against this group who have been identified as labour and social activists, confirms that he’s one paranoid son-of-a-bitch as well. Their lawyers are asking quite reasonably, why the rest of the population have not been arrested as well for watching the revolts against the two North African dictators. One can only conclude that Mugabe needs to make an example of this unfortunate bunch, so that nobody else considers rising up against his tyrannical rule.

South Africans need to be aware that if our own government push into legislation their recently proposed draconian censorship laws, this sort of thing might become a reality even here.

I watched a video hosted on AlJazeera’s website of dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s desperate and threatening speech broadcast on Libyan television earlier this week, where he makes reference to the fact that he was not a leader, but a revolutionary.

Interspersed with pleas for cessation of the hostility against his regime and the usual revolutionary rhetoric, he issued threats to maim and burn his own people. This rant sounded quite familiar to me, having come across that same technique on numerous occasions in e-mails, pamphlets, flyers and billboard posts by the lunatics who make up the Christian fundamentalist lobby.

Meanwhile, South Africans need to take note of how a certain obstreperous Youth organization affiliated to the government, conceitedly also refer to themselves as revolutionaries at every occasion. More disconcerting however, is that they style themselves not after honourable revolutionaries such as Benjamin Franklin, but after despots like Gaddafi.

Tyrants beware, the people shall rise…

It used to be that the dearly beloved king ruled over his people for many prosperous, happy years. 23 years of stewardship in the fabled kingdoms of old, signified a content nation.

Coming back to reality and the oppression-dom of Africa, 23 years of stewardship only signifies that the ruler despot-in-charge is besotted with his hold on power and/or that the people have become used to the status quo with what could only be described as religious deference.

However, there comes a time when the people will rise up against tyranny, usually when they have nothing or very little left to lose. And usually the people who rise up tend to be motivated by rational necessity , but more often than not guided by some form of ideological cause.

And so, the 23-year reign of Tunisia’s repressive ruler, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali came to an end this week, when he chose to flee the country, rather than have his head paraded through the streets propped on a stick.

The people eventually grew tired of his repressive regime and living in abject poverty. However, it appears they were guided by a fairly significant extent by the growing appeal of Islamic militancy that is springing up among young people all over the Middle East and North Africa. And therein lies the problem. It creates a gap for the religious fundamentalist clerics to attain a grip on the affairs of state.

It would be sad to see Tunisia replacing political tyranny with a religious one…