“Men must be governed by God or be ruled by tyrants.”
~ William Penn
Whether due to natural causes or that of humanly expedited circumstances, it seem that the death of tyrant after tyrant has become commonplace in our news. An Arab nationalist and the fifth president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein along with his army is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 200,000 civilians. Hussein died by hanging for the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites; his death was broadcasted live on December 30, 2006. On October 20, 2011, Mu’ammar Qaddafi, ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic, was killed by a bullet to his left temple. His body was put on display and persons filed by, taking pictures of the fallen leader. He had abolished the country’s constitution and established laws based on his political ideology. He even renamed the months of the calendar year. His publication,The Green Book, included his “Third International Theory.” Ironically, he was given the title “King of kings” by African leaders during a meeting in 2008. Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea, died on December 17, 2011 of what is believed to be a heart attack while traveling by train. This repressive and antisocial leader controlled every aspect of his citizens’ lives and did not believe in freedom of press or religion. He is believed to have had at least 200,000 political prisoners.
And had it not been for the successive deaths of Saddam Hussein, Mu’ammar Qaddafi, and now Kim Jong- il, the thought of the end of the tyrannical presence of race in our lives would have remained just that– a thought scribbled on the back of a grocery store receipt. The demise of cruel rulers and selfish dictators whose goals are the same– power, control, accumulation and consumption– is no longer surprising. The seemingly unending reign of those who dye their hair to maintain their youthful appearance and to ensure that their followers remain ignorant of their age and consequently, the length of their tenure has come to an end. Wanting to appear ageless, immortal even, they all meet their demise, one sad, human way or another.
They lead without laws so they themselves can be lawless. They rule without true authority and their lives are nothing more than attempts at claiming what they can never possess: a godlike presence. And their means are the same: multiple luxurious palaces, exotic cars, private zoos, statues and paintings, military might and loyal subjects with puppet-like adoration. These leaders have scripted their worship; they dictate the devotion of the people that serve them. Their power, influence and wealth is dependent upon others.
These demagogues gained political power by appealing to the prejudices and vanities of the people of their countries. Most used religious or nationalist propaganda in order to rise to power. The people’s weaknesses became the strengths of these tyrants who played on their fears. Soon, the country is led by a personality and the interests of a single human being is chosen over that of millions of people. And each country’s citizens learn to live with less and less of themselves while becoming more dependent upon who the leader is.
Such is race. It has indoctrinated us with its nationalist and religious propaganda. We are told what to think and believe about ourselves and others. We create paintings, erect monuments and statues in blind allegiance and unyielding devotion. We hate who race hates and we have killed in the name of it. We have served in its military, its lynch mobs and “race” riots. How many atrocities, genocidal attempts and political prisoners will be attributed to its rule? How long will we allow our fears, our prejudices and our vanities to rule us? How long will we choose to live under the tyranny of race?
If not for the now frequent toppling of tyrannical governments, I would have no hope of its end. If not for the fact that there is a true “King of kings” to which I can appeal, one upon whose shoulders the government rests, I might have cause for concern. But, we do have a choice in the matter. We can either be ruled by human beings or governed by God. What would we like to lose?