Bashar of Syria is a dictator; his father was a dictator. He is a war criminal, and so was his father. It does not take a lot of wit, nor investigations, to reach these conclusions. Bashar's crimes are well documented and eyewitnesses are abundant. Even a quick look at a random sample of the flood of digitized information coming from there, be it this testimony before the European Parliment, this interview with Anderson Cooper or this New York Times piece on journalist Anthony Shadid leaves no doubts about it.
With the proliferation of social media and digital technologies, it is almost impossible anymore to hide crimes at a scale and as cruel as that of the unfolding Syrian tragedy. Journalists are being killed in Syria; Marie Colvin was. Photographers are being slaughtered; Remi Ochlik was. They were heroes, as this CNN report on their deaths shows. They were heroes because they wanted to, and they did, expose the crimes of the hateful, bloodthirsty tyrant.
It is already the one-year anniversary of the ongoing Egyptian revolution. After Hosni Mubarak, one of the most hateful dictators of modern times, was forced to step down on Feb. 11, 2011, the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control over the largest, and historically most influential, Arab country.
Headed by the 76-year-old Field Marshal Tantawi, SCAF continued Mubarak’s non-democratic, in some cases brutal, practices of cracking down on civil organizations, putting civilians into military trials, attacking peaceful protesters, self-admittedly spreading rumors and maintaining control over an already-notorious state TV.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said Lord Acton, the 19th century British historian. This statement describes best dictatorships where power is lodged in the hands of one person, usually a deified Pharaoh. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is one.
When Mubarak assumed power in 1981 after the assassination of Anwar El Sadat, he was particularly keen to announce that he hated corruption, loathed despotism and encouraged hard work. Good start, it really sounded promising. However, after 30 years in office, before his resignation on Feb. 11, the man’s family’s fortune is estimated as potentially $70 billion. He was willingly surrounded by a handful of the most corrupt businesspersons in the country, if not in the world; tipped off by the most-hated, steel industry monopolizer, cold-blooded vote-rigger Ahmed Ezz; and was shelled by an evilly sophisticated, brutally repressive, extremely unpopular police force.