Dec 12, 2006

Pinochet is dead

And its about 35 years overdue, too. Its been a bad couple of weeks for people with blood on their hands - Saddam to be executed, Rumsfeld condemned to irrelevance and now Pinochet has finally been buried.

Whats really surprising however, is the reaction of certain segments of the Chilean people. 60,000 people came out to pay their respects to this dictator's corpse at it lay in Santiago's Military Academy. To pay their respects to a man who had anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher (his biggest fan, do not forget) either dismissed from the entire political process in what was a previously democratic state or worse - tortured, executed or "disappeared".

The stories tell of how they used to fly out helicopters over the ocean and just through the prisoners out, leaving them stranded at sea to either die through exposure, tiredness or whatever natural predator decided to try and pick them off. Other helicopters flew up and down the coast depositing death squads in towns in blatant acts of state terrorism - the infamous "Caravans of Death".

But he "saved" the country from Communism. A democratically elected Communist leader, however. The haste at which Allende undertook economic restructuring of the state suggests that he intended to abide by the laws of Chile and to vacate the office of President after his 6 year term had finished. His more dictatorial moves were defeated by the Christian Democrats in Congress, hardly something a new Stalin in the making would ever allow. Even if he had been making moves towards a Communist dictatorship, the only way to save the country would have been to restore power to the people via an elected leadership within a Constitutional framework - not by installing another group of dictators who were even more bloody and vicious.

But such is the nature of primate politics. Pinochet was the darling of certain groups simply because he belonged to them and not the other side. Oh, and there was the economy. But is an economy ever so important that it justifies the support of a bloody tyrant? No, never. Yes, his policies did improve the condition of life for some Chileans. But then he rounded up others and had them systematically tortured and executed. Kind of outweighs whatever plus points he may get for his economic skill.

So, another tyrant is dead and for that we should all be glad. However, the mentality that supports tyrants is obviously still alive and well, within Chile, within Iraq and within even the UK and America, where Pinochet was much loved by the political elites of Thatcher and Reagen. Kind of like Saddam, but I digress. So long as the mob mentality that calls for such leaders exists, they will continue to blight our existence. Tyrants are not born, they are made by the cries of the crowds looking for security against Them, whatever enemy, real or imagined, that they fear. And until people stop being afraid and stop looking to Authority for their safety, such leaders will continue well into the future.

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