Dictatorship or mob rule

by Sarath Wijesinghe


(February 19, UAE, Sri Lanka Guardian) Dictator is one who gains power and rules with an iron fist in a society with no democratic rights. Dictatorship is seen as equivalent to a Police State under an authoritarian and totalitarian Government. Dictatorship is the rule by an individual or a group of people either military or otherwise. Sometimes dictators are popular though uneducated or become dictators by ceasing power mostly from the democratically elected governments or legitimate rulers. Living under the dictatorship is a risk because there is no rule of law and supremacy of laws or will of the people.


During the Roman Republic official dictators were given emergency powers by the Senate. Their power was limited by an absolute power. During dictatorships the civil rights and freedoms of individuals are curtailed or restricted. Dictators are identified and known as dictators. They exercise, expand and implement it on the others.

There is no room for dictators or dictatorial governments in democratic society. Democracy is fine, pleasant and synonymous with freedom and other forms of rights which are enshrined in public human rights documents.

Mob Rule is governed by mob or mass of people or the intimidation of legitimate authorities.


Democracy is a form of a political organization in which people through consensus exercise equal control over the matters which affects their interests.

The word “democracy” is inherited from the Greek word “demokratia” which means the rule of the people. In a democratic set up the subjects are equal before the law and there is equal freedom and has equal access to power. Democracy is enjoyed through representatives where representatives are appointed periodically by electing the representatives through free and fair elections. These are the governments by the people electing representatives for the people.


It is a political freedom in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens where they can elect people to represent them. There is no doubt that the best freedom for the mankind is ideal democratic set up which is difficult to achieve. It is fortunate that in India and Sri Lanka the democratic ideals flourish and both nations can boast as model democracies in the world. India is the largest democracy and in Sri Lanka the democratic system is in the system for thousands of years based on ‘Dasaraja Dharma’ the principles on which the great kings ruled the country and the democratic set up in practice after the independence in 1948.

Mob rule is governed by mob or mass of people mostly to intimidate legitimate authorities and democratically elected governments. Mob rule may be used against “tyranny” of the majority over suppression by dictatorship.


Mob rule was prominent during Rome where a large city consisting of 100,000 and 250,000 citizens threatened the governments exercising the strength of the citizens via mob rule. Weapons in the time were crude, military was weak and the Government had to feed the people and maintain them to make them happy.

Currently there is a certain amount of turmoil in the Middle East as a result of the threat of mob rule agitating for certain attempts for democratization. They have not exercised or felt the present joy of democracy. The countries suddenly became oil rich and the rulers and kings emerged possessing the enormous wealth bestowed on them by natural resources. Democratic rights and ideals were not agitated and the religious laws were strictly adhered and applied to the citizens.


The development of cyber technology has made drastic changes in the outlook and social structure worldwide. In China the child was snatched from the possession of parents were found amongst three billion with the untiring efforts of his father who used modern cyber technology to trace the son. The boy is now united with the parents. The internet users are day by day growing and the technology is used in all spheres as one which is a necessity in life. Operations are conducted via catheters with the help of cyber technology. The developments are enormous and unthinkable. With the click of a button news runs length and breadth of the world. With little knowledge of English or any other language any average citizen can explore the cyber world with the technical knowledge.


In Egypt the person who was in the current turmoil has been a senior officer employed by Google, a cyber giant who has masterminded the uprising which the Western media picked up and made use of exploring disproportionately the happenings in a limited area in the State. The Western powers were awaiting for the opportunity to maintain the grip on the natural resources in the Middle East. They have the best from the dictators and when they are being dropped by the people as a result of mob rule the dictators too were dropped as hot potatoes by the West.

The ripple effects of the mob rule in the Middle East was orchestrated in the Western media to show the world of the waive of agitations and changes. The agitations were artificially orchestrated and expanded by the media for the change of governments. Change of governments are short and long term agencies of the West and it seems that the mob rule has become powers and are being used in the name of democracy.

Democratic set ups are refined and systematic. There is no threat or mob rule in democracy. Democracy is directed by democratic ideals. Dictators are guided by dictatorial powers, but the dictators are known and could be identified. Mob rule is guided and influenced by invisible forces. Mob rule is unpredictable. They can change at any moment and demands vary from time to time. Therefore, mob rule is worse than dictatorship where the dictators will be fallen easily to not the mob rule because mobs are enormously powerful. Destruction and damages are more in mob rule than dictatorships.


It is time for South Asians to be careful of dictatorships and mob rule. Every country in South Asia follows democratic ideals except for Afghanistan which is under the clutches of the West. The human right situation in Afghanistan is pathetic. War crimes are being committed every now and then but there is nobody to bell the cat. United Nations is anxious to find out the happenings of the last few days of Sri Lankan humanitarian operation. But they are silent on the atrocities , human rights violations and war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. The country went through the most difficult period with loss of lives of hundreds of thousands of human beings and destruction of property worth billions in the hands of terrorist organizations which the Sri Lanka Government successfully got rid of by saving Sri Lanka , South Asia and the entire world in the name of security and freedom for the ordinary citizens. The ripple effect on the SAARC Region on the incidents of the Middle East is going to be nil because South Asians are democratic and there is no room for a mob rule in the region. There is no room for a mob rule in a democratic set up because the governments are elected democratically by periodic free and fair elections.

Under the circumstances one need not fear or foresee ripple and side effects of turmoil in the Middle East in South Asia. South Asian countries are in the fast track towards development. Sri Lanka is aiming to be the Wonder of Asia and the intention of India to be a super power and obtained membership in the Security Council. There is no doubt that all these nations are going to fulfill their ambitions. Other South Asian countries too are in the first gear on development and the SAARC Association is used as a vehicle for prosperity in the region.

(The writer, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates. He can be reached sarath8@hotmail.com)

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