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They’re wordly wise

Arab dictators are most colourful in their public discourse. Sadly, our leaders are tame in this regard.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2011 21:01 IST
Hindustan Times

Don’t get us wrong, we are as democratic as they come. But, the world will be a less colourful place without all the Arab dictators and other leaders in the reg-ion who are falling like ten pins.

While most world leaders speak in measured tones, carefully weighing their words, our dictators are not reined in by any such propriety. So we find that even as he totters on his last legs, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi calls on his “people” to hunt down the rats and snakes who are fomenting the revolution. He asks the faithful, if there are any left, to spill their blood to protect him. He rambles in a TV interview of how people will lay down their lives for him because they love him so.

Threats that the streets will run with blood are an all-time favourite as are animal-related terminology for western leaders. To call other leaders who disagree with you international criminals is par for the course. Our leaders are tame in this regard. When Nitin Gadkari tried to introduce some colour into public discourse by using a canine analogy when talking of political rivals, people accused him of lowering standards. The late Ayato-llah Khomeini, though neither Arab nor a dictator, coined the evocative term the Great Satan to describe America. The mercurial Gaddafi has also been known to go to the other extreme and once described former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as his “darling black African woman,” something that could not have amused the strait-laced Ms Rice. Of course, Gaddafi reveled in the West’s description of him as a mad dog.

Apart from the leaders in the region, various militant outfits vie with each other in issuing hyperbolic threats to their enemies. From exhorting the infidels to dig their graves to threatening millennia-long wars, we have heard it all. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s expressions have often bordered on the bizarre. We considered incorporating some language with a bit of pizazz into our editorials so as to draw in more readers. But this is a family paper, so sorry, it is no go.

First Published: Aug 24, 2011 20:59 IST