[FOUNTAIN] The Portrait of a Dictator

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[FOUNTAIN] The Portrait of a Dictator

The former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who was arrested a few days ago, is the model of a dictator. He shares many similarities with Adolf Hitler, the most notorious dictator of the 20th century. It is interesting to distill from the characteristics of the two dictators, Milosevic and Hitler, the portrait of a dictator.

A dictator never admits his own failings, even at the last moment. Dictators fail to accept reality. Milosevic even carried out armed resistance, vowing not to leave his house alive. Hitler committed suicide just two days before the Soviet army overran Berlin.

Dictators have unusual personalities; they tend to be extremely self-opinionated and often fall under elaborate delusions due to their unhappy childhoods. Hitler lost his parents when young and was humiliated by twice failing to be accepted into an art school. Milosevic also suffered from a gloomy past. Both his parents killed themselves.

Therefore, dictators never show smiling faces, even after they seize power. They always wear serious, stern expressions. A dark shadow is cast when they became upset. In fact, I have never seen a photo of Hitler or Milosevic smiling.

Dictators have a special ability to inflame the populace. To this end, they divide society into groups and label a certain group the enemy of the nation. In most cases, dictators commit their foulest crimes during this process. Hitler chose Jews and Milosevic selected non-Serbs as their victims. The results were the heinous crimes of the Jewish holocaust and "ethnic cleansing" in Yugoslavia.

Dictators particularly detest personal criticism. Therefore, one of the first steps taken by dictators after coming to power is to gag the news media. There is no need to explicate further the policy to shackle speech and writing under the Nazis regime.

Milosevic also accused critical newspaper publishers of crimes and imposed large penalties against them. He also adopted the notorious Information Law, resulting in the shut-down of anti-government media outlets. Consequently, he was listed among the top 10 enemies of the press by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, an organization under UNESCO, last year.

We know that a leader with such characteristics is often a dictator. Yet, the most important characteristic shared by dictators is that their last days are spent in extreme misery.

Hitler, who killed himself, in fact got off relatively lightly. Among dictators of the recent era, Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania ended up with the most violent death. In December 1989, he was executed in a hail of bullets from a firing squad.

by Yoo Jae-sik

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