Death of Dictators

I am currently reading “The Last of the Tsars” by Robert Service (2016), about the last 18 months of the life of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, deposed by the Russian revolution and executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.  It seems to be the verdict of history that most autocratic rulers, emperors, monarchs and dictators, come to a bad end.

So it has been with King Louis XIV of France,  Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, King Faisal of Iraq, King Abdullah I of Jordan.  Consulting the term “regicide” in Wikipedia, there is a list of 138 assassinations and murders of kings, including 17 British monarchs.  Then there are the dictators, Adolf Hitler who committed suicide, Benito Mussolini and Muammar Qaddafi, who were murdered by mobs, Nicolae Ceausescu, who was shot by his bodyguard, Saddam Hussein, who was sentenced to death by trial. 

But, some dictators manage to die naturally in their beds, such as Stalin, who led a solitary life to protect himself, Idi Amin, who was allowed to live in luxury in Saudi Arabia, Francisco Franco of Spain, Fidel Castro, who died recently at the age of 90, and previous dictators of North Korea.  But, these are the exceptions rather than the rule, according to the old adage, “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Of course, there are still many absolute dictators alive today, the Supreme Ayatollah of Iran, the Premier of Communist China, the Kim dynasty in N. Korea, Assad in Syria.  Some claim to be “democratic”, such as Pres. Putin of Russia, but few are fooled.  There are 49 listed as holding absolute power.  Let’s hope they will all be deposed sooner or later.