by The Writer
Tragedy will happen when we elect crazy people.
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.... Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
The striking similarity between Adolf Hitler of Germany and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is that they're both monsters. Their tongues are equally wicked and the wickedness is deadly. Hitler dragged Germany to Second World War because of his fiery rhetoric; and he seduced the Germans to hate, persecute and kill the Jews whom he blamed for the defeat of Germany in the First World War. Unlike Hitler, president Duterte is not a powerful speaker, he speaks more in a casual manner. However, he's a rabble-rouser to the core like the German dictator. Duterte's jokes and innuendos are taken seriously by his followers particularly by the police and military. Mr. Duterte is so charismatic that his followers believe in whatever he says, and they're willing to carry out his orders no matter how gruesome it may be. Almost twenty thousand people were killed since Mr. Duterte became the president of the Philippines; all these so called "drug related" killings were inspired by the consistent demagoguery of Mr. Duterte. Hitler blamed the Jews for the "destruction" of Germany; Duterte on the one hand is condemning the drug pushers as the prime menace in this country. In a speech, Mr. Duterte even compared himself to Adolf Hitler. He said that if Hitler massacred the Jews, he would be glad to slaughter three million drug addicts for the sake of his country. In his last speech which is truly nauseating, Mr. Duterte was tempting the people to kill the Catholic Bishops, because according to him, they're fools for criticizing his administration's campaign against illegal drugs.
This latest statement of Mr. Duterte reminds me of the speech of King Henry II of England against Thomas Becket the Bishop of Canterbury. Because of the latter's opposition against King Henry II the king uttered these ominous words "who will rid me of this meddlesome priest"? Four Knights loyal to Henry II responded to this call, they went to Canterbury and murdered Becket by hacking him to death. The Filipino Catholic priests are now afraid, they worried about their lives. Their fear is not baseless since what happened to Bishop Becket can also happen to them.
But, why the people (Germans and the Filipinos) loved these monsters (Hitler and Duterte), why did they choose them as their leaders? Well, this is what happens when the so called system of democracy fails; fascism is the opposite of democracy. It thrives when the opposite pole is weakened. Hitler was chosen by the German people because he portrayed himself as the only savior of the defeated German nation. While Duterte depicted himself as the punisher of criminals and drug pushers. Hitler and Duterte used the same strategy: they capitalized on the fear and ignorance of the people. This is the same strategy that Donald Trump used when he won the election. He promised to make America great again; that he will not allow immigrants to invade their country and they shall fight a relentless economic war against China to win back the jobs that were deprived from the Americans. In short, fascism is the last resort of the masses when they're in a desperate situation. Nobody wants to have a monster president, why should people want that? What the public is actually looking for at times of crisis is a strong leader who can lead them out of disaster; rabble-rousers always posed themselves as strong leaders, whether this is true or not.
There's nothing terrifying about the personalities of Hitler and Duterte; on the contrary both of them are comical figures. What's really chilling about them is the type of message that they're spreading every time they open up their foul mouths. They're talking like the messenger of death. They're inspiring their people to commit murders and all kinds of atrocities; and people follow them. Real power lies in the ability of a leader to influence his audience. I remember the interviewed conducted by Mike Wallace on Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran during the "Iran Hostage Crisis". Mr. Wallace asked Imam Khomeini what he can say about the comments of President Sadat of Egypt that he (Khomeini) is a disgrace to Islam and that he's a lunatic. The soft spoken Ayatollah answered the question of Mr. Wallace. After that, Imam Khomeini demanded from the Egyptian people to overthrow Sadat in the same way that the Sha of Iran was ousted by the Iranian people. Two years passed after that interviewed, President Sadat was murdered by a group of Egyptian renegade soldiers in a parade ceremony. Now, that's a real display of power. In a similar situation, there's an ongoing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslims were systematically being persecuted, tortured and killed by the Burmese nationalists; the man behind these atrocities is a Buddhist Monk named Wirathu. Like Khomeini this monk is soft spoken and very gentle in his movement yet his message against the Muslim minority is filled with hatred. In effect, Wirathu is calling for the annihilation of the Rohingyas. The sad thing about this is that Wirathu is being back-up by the military junta and the majority of the Burmese people.
When he was still a soldier Hitler's passion was to fight to the end for his adopted country (Germany); when he joined the workers socialist party (Nazi) his main desire was to make fiery speech against the Jews and the traitors of the fatherland; and when he wrote Mein Kampf his focus was on the preservation of the purity of the Aryan race. In all these stages of his life there was no hint that Hitler planned of becoming the ruler and dictator of Germany. In the same manner, it's also evident that Rodrigo Duterte was satisfied in being the city mayor of Davao; there's no indication that he wanted to be the president of the Philippines. His desire then was just simple: to punish and kill the criminals in his little town. Hitler and Duterte were catapulted to power because the masses accepted their perverted ideologies. Monsters are not born, they're made. They're not powerful, stupid people empowered them. Like heroes, villains and monsters are the inevitable product of any crisis.