The Tiger Eats

They found the once powerful Dictator while he was on the retreat. In the end his captors decided that he was to be executed. His executioners tricked him into believing he was being rescued but instead ofa rescue he was led to his executioners. Upon learning this he opened his tunic and said to his executioners to shoot him in the heart and one promptly did. He slumped to the ground and died slowly, his suffering ended with a coup de grace. Thus, here ended the life of the Dictator. His lieutenant who was also to be executed said that he could not look at what had become of his Titan, who in his glory days spoke like a god and now was nothing more than a collection of dead flesh.

Benito Mussolini,his mistress and his fellow fascists were killed by the Italian partisans who captured as the war ended. Mussolini or Il Duce was discovered in one of trucks of the retreating German forces. He was dressed in a sergeant coat to hide himself but this ruse was unsuccessful.

Il Duce, the founder Fascism, the Conqueror of Ethiopia, Benito Mussolini rode the Tiger, a political predator, that in the end devoured him. In Africa a leader thrice as eccentric as Il Duce, Coronel Muahmar Gadaffi, died with a bullet in his head as he was captured by his enemies.

Il Duce’s body was left in the plaza in Milan where it was stoned, kicked, abused and hang upside down like a carcass of meat. This was captured in film and photos. Gadaffi’s life that would soon end was chronicled with video that seemed to have been taken with a cellphone and or did a bullet from a cross-fire end is life?

It is said that upon learning of the death and the circumstances around the death of Il Duce, Adolph Hitler gave explicit instructions on how to deal with his remains. It was to be burned. Of course Herr Hitler died by his own hands with a bullet to the brain as Berlin fell to the Soviet Army. Nonetheless, his remains and memorabilia were collected by the Soviets. Some stories tell that his remains now lay somewhere below a parking lot in what was once known as East Germany. Hitler did not want his enemies to exhibit in a plaza like Mussolini or to be paraded without dignity through the streets as was done with the dead and defeated Richard III. In fact the portrayal of Richard III as a villain went beyond his death and found expression in paintings, stories and even in the play of William Shakespeare.

Makes one wonder if here, It would have mattered if Marcos was caught by the people in Malacanang before he fled. Would our story be any different? Marcos of course died in exile, while his remains went home to Ilocos waxed and frozen, waiting to be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani. When Augusto Pinochet died he was cremated his remains entrusted to his families. A more prudent choice it seems given how the powerful are sometimes abused when they are dead. Oliver Cromwell who was not defeated when alive, was during the Restoration in England, dug from his grave and subjected to disembowelment and his head put on a pike at the top of the Tower London. Cardinal Richelieu and the Empress Dowargess Tzu Chi’s grave were desecrated long after they passed away.

Then again death is not the only way to die. For Marcos exile and ostracism was a form a death sentence. And even in the case of Pinochet despite the layers of insulation he had placed to protect himself in the end a form of punishment was meted out with his incarceration and trial in UK and the unveiling of the statue of his predecessor Allende in Chile. As they say death comes in many forms and shape. It is not only the physical aspect of a person that dies.

Those that rode and survived the Tiger of power are those like Augustus Ceasar and even Sulla who aligned his ambition with that of his people – making him a king without naming him one or like Ieayasu Tokuguwa who retired from the office of Shogun, in effect becoming a shadow Shogun. But then again we do not know how they paid for the power they were able to acquire – who knows what personal price these individuals paid in order to achieve power.

Still, one way or the other people who have sought, used and abused power would be similar to the man riding the Tiger. In the end the Tiger who did not get off in time. The Tiger collects its fee and eats its rider, its prey.

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