Thursday, 20 February 2014


I used to go to a spa in Amsterdam  where it was common for men and women  to  swim, sauna, steam, and relax together  naked. It reflected the healthy, non-prurient attitude the Dutch have to nudity. Nobody stared or leered and I soon got into the swing of things.

The only person who made me feel uneasy was the guy in sunglasses. You couldn’t see where he was looking, but  I was damn sure it  wasn't the trees.  He also kept  a towel over his dick. Women complained and he was  eventually asked to leave.  It’s a pity the world’s dictators cannot be asked to do the same.  Sun glasses are their nod to style and authoritarian rule. The thugocracy love  to  stare out at their starving masses from behind mega-dollar frames.  If they hide their eyes, they think we won’t see the torture chambers.

Libya’s Munama Gaddafi  liked to  hide  his cosmetically enhanced eyes with a frameless J-lo style and was rarely seen without them. I gather he wasn't wearing them when he was found hiding in a hole, probably  because his dictatorial game was over and he didn't need them in the dark.    Zimbabwe’s little treasure, Robert Mugabe, favours  gold rimmed  sunglasses that tilt  to the side, giving him a slight Dame Edna Everidge look.  He’s the monster who sanctioned military violence and ordered his opponent’s wife to be burned alive.

One of the most iconic shades-wearing dictators in history, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, left a legacy of desperate, starving citizens, horrific work camps, hundreds of thousands of political prisoners and a huge number of sunglasses to his son, Kim Jong Un.   

Clip-on shades rimmed in gold bling were favoured by Togo’s Gnassingbe Eyadema. He ruled for  38 years, winning numerous uncontested elections and rigging the rest. He had  an entourage of 1,000 dancing women who sang and danced in praise of him; portraits of his ugly mug were everywhere and  $20 wrist watches with his portrait,  were available to the few Togolese who could afford them.

Sudan's Bashir prefers to tease with a glimpse of his eyes behind round gold-rimmed glasses that darken in sunlight. He likes them to slip down his nose at conferences to give him a more intellectual air.  More hard-line shades are worn when he's going for the tough-guy look in his  bully-boy military uniforms. He's the man behind the horrors of Darfur.

Augusto Pinochet, Chile’s dictator  proved that a good pair of sunglass is the making of a dictator. He  hid behind them throughout his 17 years of political genocide. Thousands of  his opponents disappeared and have never been seen again.

Sadaam Hussein’s  wife went shopping for her husband’s shades in Europe’s top designer stores. Interesting to note the former Iraqi dictator wasn’t wearing the latest designer shades for his six foot drop. As with Gaddafi, and Pinochet during his arrest in London, the shades leave when their wearers fall and all that remains are old men blinking at the light.
Hosni Mubarak’s  sartorial elegance was topped by to-die-for shades  and he’s even appeared in court behind bars wearing them, which begs the question, does he sleep in them? It's a sign that he still thinks he is Egypt’s dictator, and the way things are going, there could be a horrible truth in this.

The eyes are the window to the soul,  and any attempt to hide them merely makes the person appear soul-less.  You can peer out at the world from behind them, but the world can’t see the truth of you. If you know you have something to hide, why not hide it?

A man who is hiding plenty, (including activists and journalists in his jails), is Egypt's president, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. He's as shady as you can get.  He likes to match his with military bling and tailored suits. Media shots show that, like Mubarak, he  prefers to hide behind tinted glass, even when indoors. When he delivered his coup speech to Egypt, on July 24 2013, he was wearing sunglasses. He called for new protests and for the Egyptian people to give the military a mandate to fight "terrorism." Noone saw the gleam in his eye. The Muslim Brotherhood  was toppled, and the shades moved in.  Since then Al-Sisi's one-man-band  has given itself unchecked powers to combat ‘terrorism’,  torture the opposition, manacle the press, sink the economy,  This is very worrying,  but what worries me more are the Ray-Bans. 

No comments:

Post a Comment