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Successful dictators

Nuku'alofa, Tonga


Franco of Spain was successful because his goal was to save Spain from divisions, disunity, and civil war. Franco’s bottom line was to establish stability and maintain peace for Spain, and for that stability and peace to be maintained after his time. This is exactly what happened. He never did anything that was unreasonable, but all things were done to achieve his goal which really was in the best interests of his country, especially considering the circumstances Spain was in.

I do not find anything to be a half-truth or questionable when considering Franco’s success in delivering his bottom line which was stability and peace in Spain, and yes he even picked Juan Carlos to succeed him and Juan Carlos did succeed him as King of Spain and the rightful heir to the Spanish Throne. It was well known that Juan Carlos and Franco disagreed on how the government should be run, and it is false that Franco was trying to establish some kind of self-worshipping legacy to be continued by the Juan Carlos, the rightful heir of the Spanish throne.

This so called - “Franco legacy” to be continued by Juan Carlos theory - proposed by Mr. Tupou is ludicrous. Think about it, Franco calls himself reagent and sets up the rightful heir to the Spanish throne to lawfully inherit the Spanish Throne, is Franco’s way of building and continuing Franco’s legacy after himself, a legacy that Franco already acknowledges is not his! Alexander Pope’s words ring true, “A little learning [ie. knowledge] is a dangerous thing; drink deep or taste not … “.

I do not understand how Mr. Tupou labels Franco as an abnormal being (what exactly is that supposed to mean - abnormal being?!!), especially when he never declared himself a God or something of the sort. If you understand how Franco came into power, it was not because of cunning devices and political steering like I had mentioned in my previous letter which was common for many dictators in the history books.

Franco from the beginning did not pursue power but led an army to end civil war, and his being appointed to power happened to come about as if by an act of God, or what others would say, it happened by chance or by a natural occurrence considering the circumstances he was in. That is why Franco called himself “the Leader of Spain, by the Grace of God”, and he considered himself the Reagent for the Monarch of Spain. Never did he think of himself as a King or an idol of worship or some other abnormal thingie.

A similar comparison for the “Grace of God” expression can also be found in the figurative name given to the Tu’i Kanokupolu Mumui - Mapa-tongi-‘a-manu. In polynesian figurative speech and philosophy the bird and the action of a bird is symbolic or figurative of the Supreme Being’s will, or how things happen that were unexpected and can only be explained as an “act of God”. When considering and understanding the history of how Mumui became the Tu’i Kanokupolu in his old age it is easy to make comparisons with the expressions “by the grace of God” and “Mapa-tongi-‘a-manu”. (Just a hint for those of you who are now making connections with the Tonga creation story; on how to decipher the story of the bird pecking at the worm which split in three. Kohai, Koau, and Momo was the little piece left in the birds mouth).

I also did not say that Bainimarama is successful. I clearly stated more than once that only time will tell. I also did not say I approved of the means by which he came into power. However, to say that all dictators are failed wannabes is utterly false. I just picked Franco from history because his circumstances were the most similar to Bainimarama’s, though not identical. I believe the dictators of Dubai, Qatar, and others such countries in the middle east can easily be called successful, not to mention Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore who many have written books about as being a modern day political and economic genius. Those are just to name a few of the successful dictatorships that do exist in the world and definitely would not fall under Mr. Tupou’s label of these types of leaders being “failed wannabe’s”.

Also, Mr. Tupou claims that Fiji’s democracy had served many generations of Fijians well. That is funny because the last time I checked Fiji’s democracy has yet to live longer than one generation since Fiji only became independent in 1970 and had their first coup in 1987 which comes to a total of 17 years of its first existence, and then the rest of the coups in between happened in less number of years than their first 17 year existence. Where did he get his “many generations” from? Do I dare say Mr. Tupou has made my last paragraph of my previous letter spot on true? I will let readers decide.


Daniel K. Fale

mauitekelangi [at] gmail [dot] com