The Arrogance of Power

Posted by M ws On Friday, September 13, 2013 0 comments
A very thought-provoking article:

Power is said to be the unexpected triumph of democracy. It is the ruthless power game in the political arena among gladiators and it can be a double-edged knife. It can lead a country to prosperity if it is used judiciously but if wielded arrogantly it can lead to one’s downfall. Many dictators have perished in the course of history when power goes into their heads. It is a virus which is deadly: “la folie des grandeurs”. History is replete with the rise and fall of megalomaniacs. Shoes and projectiles were hurled at them or their images were crushed under the feet of protestors. Statues posted once in their honour are pulled down. They were toppled down into the dustbin of History. The Arab spring is a glaring example. Closer to us we have witnessed the rise and fall of many arrogant power-hungry politicians in our local history.

Politics is the pursuit of power. The meek and smiling masked politician with honeyed tongue who knocks at our doorstep to beg for our most coveted vote, by a magical wand is turned into a demi-god if  appointed as a minister but not by his merit but by his ethnic profile. He is transformed like Frankenstein into a dictator, arrogant, and walks with his head to the sky. He lives in his ivory tower barricaded by bodyguards armed to the teeth.The sycophants and turncoats will flock to the megalomaniac opening the car doors, talking to him in the ears, even ready to prostrate to his feet. Chamchas in their search for morsels will try to be in the good books of the demigod. But once power slips from his hands he is deserted callously. I still remember an editorialist of the seventies labelling the chamchas as “les mouches vertes”. The behaviour and body language of  the chamchas in the presence of  someone hierarchically superior is usually revealing. The breed of sycophants cuts across communities and is rampant nowadays.The days of idealism and ideologies of the swinging sixties are long buried in our society.

We always proclaim the rule of law in our country. But who does not remember the episode of a girls’ star-school which broke off thirty minutes late in the afternoon simply because an economics teacher has inadvertently made a reference, though fully justified to the said minister in his lesson and by mischance the Minister’s daughter happened to be in that class. The trauma it engendered was embedded in the psyche of those contemporary pupils. Who dares to  book a Minister for parking on the non –parking zone? The irony is that the police officer will in a matter of hours be transferred punitively to the most remote station of the island. In every sector it is the same.

Politisation of  everyday life is asphyxiating us to the point of dysfunction of our institutions. If today our schools become ungovernable with rampant indiscipline it is because of politicians poking their nose into the day-to-day business of the institution. A caretaker can more easily “transfer” a rector if he has links with a minister than the other way round. The recent bryani scandal is symptomatic.

But contrary to us, in Australia, there was once a Prime Minister who was booked for a non parking offence and he eventually paid his fine like any citizen. Examples must come from above. We were full of admiration : when British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s 16-year old son was arrested for being drunk, the PM and his wife were present at the police station and subsequently their son was bailed out. Can we have such behaviour here? We strongly doubt it. Instead the police would have been told “taler mo fer transfer toi! Mo do’nn toi enn klak. Mo montre toi ki mo ete”.

Many motorists find it scandalous every morning and afternoon that the huge traffic has to be held up because a Vice PM is passing through at Vandeermeersh street.

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