“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ten Worst Dictators

1.Robert Mugabe- Zimbabwe
  • Age 85
  • In power since 1980

In Zimbabwe you can now buy a loaf of bread for a $50 billion Zim note. Unemployment is at 85% and in 2008 Mugabe agreed to hold an election, knowing he would only accept the result if he won. Launching attacks, his supporters killed 163 people who opposed him and tortured or beat 5,000 more. Signing a power sharing treaty did nothing since he then put his own people at the head of every ministry. All the while his countrymen and women have died by the thousands from cholera since August.

Although U.S. leaders have called for Mugabe’s resignation, imports from Zimbabwe, primarily nickel and ferrochromium, rose in 2008. Both are used in the production of stainless steel.
2. Omar al-Bashir-Sudan
  • Age 65
  • In power since 1989

In March the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his contributions to the tragedy in Darfur. He was charged by the ICC with “murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing, and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property.” Bashir’s military campaign has been accused of driving 2.7 million people from their homes since 2003. Since the warrants were issued Bashir has kicked out the aid workers who were in the country to help with water, food and medical help the refugees so desperately need.

Both former President Bush and President Obama have spoken out strongly against Bashir’s actions, even while the U.S. still supplies the country with substantial amounts of sorghum and other food products. The U.S. also purchases from Sudan millions of dollars worth of gum Arabic, used in soft drinks, candy, and shoe polish. In 2008 trade actually increased to $148 million.

3. Kim Jong-Il-North Korea
  • Age 67
  • In power since 1994

Kim is believed to have had a stroke and has been absent from important public events, but his regime continues to be one of the world’s most oppressive. Hundreds of thousands of citizens, including children are imprisoned in labor camps for such “crimes” as hoarding food and “anti-socialist activities.”

Relations with North Korea have been dominated by Kim’s development of nuclear weapons. Secretary of State Clinton recently expressed concern over a possible succession struggle and signs that North Korea was preparing to test a long-range missile. Which they did on April 7,2009

4. Than Shwe-Burma( Myanmar)
  • Age 76
  • In power since 1992
When Cyclone Nargis slammed into Burma on May2, it left some 140,000 dead or missing and more than 2 million homeless, Than Shwe delayed access to stricken areas by aid groups as he held a rigged election to approve a new constitution.

The U.S. has condemned the military regime for 21 years and called fort he release from house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

5. King Abdullah-Saudi Arabia
  • Age 85
  • In power since 1995

Despite King Abdullah’s talk of reform, Saudi women still need permission from male guardians to work, study, travel, marry, or even obtain an ID card. The government opened a woman’s branch of it’s Human Rights Commission but, too bad there are no women allowed to serve on the board. There is no Saudi penal code and trial defendants often cannot question witnesses.

Dependence on Saudi oil, of which the U.S. imported $50 billion worth in 2008 has caused our leaders to overlook the royal family’s abysmal human-rights record.

6.Hu Jintao- China
  • Age 66
  • In power since 2002

Hu and the communist party won the right to host the 2008 Olympics by promising to improve human rights but instead tightened restrictions on freedom of speech and religion. Repression of Tibetans and other minorities have increased dramatically and political and religious dissidents can be held in “Re-education Through Labor” camps for up to four years without trial.

In September, China passed Japan as America’s #1 foreign creditor. In 2008, we imported $340 billion worth of goods from China.

7.Sayyid Ali Khamenei-Iran
  • Age 69
  • In power since 1989

Ayatollah Khamnenei has increased arrests of non-violent opponents of his regime, women’s- rights activists, ethnic and religious minorities and journalists. In 2008 Khamenei’s government was the only one in the world to execute juveniles. Iranina law consider boys eligible for the death penalty at age 15 and girls at age 9.

Despite the war of words between leaders of the U.S. and Iran and the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, trade between the two nations skyrocketed in 2008, highlighted by America’s sales to Iran of wheat, corn and pharmaceutical products.

8. Isayas Afewerki-Eritrea
  • Age 63
  • In power since 1991

Afewerki announced in May 2008 that elections would be postponed for “three or four decades” or longer because they “polarize society.” All forms of media are controlled by the government and at least ten local journalists remain in prison since their arrests in 2001.

In October 2008, the U.S. government banned the sale of arms to Eritrea, accusing Afewerki of not fully cooperating with anti-terrorism efforts.

9. Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov-Turkmenistan
  • Age 51
  • In power since 2006

Since he took power two years ago he stopped the ridiculous cult like personality trait of his predeecessor of naming the months after himself and his mother. He should have stopped the repressive politics that are in place. Political prisoners are still behind bars, all media is controlled by the government, opposition parties are not allowed, and the practice of religion is restricted.

The U.S. continues to import oil ($100 million in 2008) from Turkmenistanand Boeing provides airplanes to the Turkmen government. Chevron recently opened an office in Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat.

10. Muammar al-Qaddafi-Libya
  • Age 66
  • In power since 1969

Sept 1, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of his coup. Among nonroyal leaders, only Gabon’s Omar Bongo has been in power longer. Anyone who spreads any information that is believed to tarnish Libya’s reputation is punishable by life imprisonment. Reports of torture are common.

The U.S. imported $4 billion worth of Libyan petroleum in 2008. Condoleeza Rice became the first Secretary of State to visit in 55 years. (2008)

Information was gathered from Parade.com


tikno said...

Well written especially about King Abdullah.

According to you, did all King/Queen who sit on top as long as their life can be classified as dictator?

This is a unique matter because their power was came from genetic descendant.

tikno said...

Happy Mother's Day for you.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

interesting post!

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