BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – The massive citizens’ uprisings sweeping through some Middle Eastern countries up to now considered fairly politically stable have the leaders of many other countries wondering if they will be the next to be expelled via such “democratic coups d’etat.”
Imagine, one day you are sitting there on your gilded throne having grapes peeled for you by lovely hand maidens while miniature giraffes gambol on the plush carpet and suddenly there’s Wolff Blitzer on the tele talking about how it took Egyptian protestors just 18 days to toss Preisident-For-Life Hosni Mubarak out on his keister. Eighteen days! My god!, you say, kicking over one of the giraffes. The man owned FIGHTER JETS. How can this be?
Then you flip around the channels and there goes Tunisia and Yemen and Syria and – NO, IT CAN’T BE …. Libya! A bunch of Bedouin dentists, hair dressers and certified public accounts are tooling around the dessert in heavily armed Toyota pickup trucks hell-bent on taking Tripoli. How could this happen to your good buddy, Muammar al-Gaddafi? Sure, the man never rose above the rank of colonel and he could never quite figure out how to spell his own name, but he threw some damn good parties. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that you were sitting there with the Gaddafi-ator in one of the colonel’s favorite palaces (the one with Wi-Fi) while a stunning burka-less Mariah Carey sang “We Belong Together”? And now, look at him on CNN wearing a beaded night gown with curious military insignia, shaking a gem-bedecked scimitar at the camera and vowing never to be taken alive. Look at that flop sweat! The man never came off as particularly psychologically rational but, dude, now he looked positively unhinged.
And you are wondering, if this could happen to Gaddafi, Mubarak, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and What’s-His-Name in that little country-ette north of Saudi Arabia … could it happen to you? There is a way to find out. Take the little test below and then I’ll tell you whether you have anything to worry about.
1. Is your country overly decorated with large billboards of your face? I mean HUGE billboards; like Donnie and Marie billboards they have in Las Vegas. (By overly, I mean, like, more than 5,000).
2. Do you possess more than one pair of heavy, steel-toed leather footwear of the type generally referred to a “jack boots”?
3. When foreign press reporters mention you in print or on air, do they refer to you as a “strongman”?
4. Did you think that the term “strongman” was a compliment?
5. Does every square, park, paseo, promenade, esplanade, village green, plaza, quadrangle or garden in your country contain a 40-foot bronze statue of you either patting a little bronze girl on the head in a fatherly manner or holding out your right arm as if you have just released a dove?
6. Do you ever have more than 30 journalists under house arrest at one time?
7. Is the use of Google, Twitter, Facebook or Myspace by citizens of your country a capital offense?
8. Do citizens of your country consider puppies a good source of protein?
9. Are puppies the largest form of four-legged animal populating the countryside?
10. Do you think Adolf Hitler was “misunderstood”?
11. Do you ever think wistfully about walking alone on a deserted beach at sunset? (By “alone,” I mean with less than 50 armed constabulary officers).
12. Do you consider “fascism” just a little ol’ branch of democracy that presently is out of vogue?
13. Does God, Allah, Yayweh, Vishnu, Jehovah, Elohim or Tom Cruise speak to you directly on a daily basis?
14. Does HE tell you that torture is just an advanced form of massage and it is good for the “little people” to experience from time to time.
15. Is your current income more than 80 zillion times higher than the next richest citizen in your country?
16. Do you own miniature giraffes that gambol on the plush carpets of your favorite palace (the one with DirectTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket” Package)?
17. Do you have more than one billion dollars in “mad money” stashed in a closet?
18. Well … that’s enough …I think you catch the drift …
How’d you do? If you answered more than three of these questions “yes”, I suggest you dig out some of that mad money, grab your miniature giraffes and favorite hand maiden and head for some place outside the jurisdiction of the World Court in The Hague. I hear Antarctica is nice this time of year.