Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Republic of Mockracy

Republic of Mockracy
‘Grandpa,’ said Thoko, ‘it’s a long time since you told me a story.’
‘You’re in Grade Six now,’ I reminded her, ‘you’re too old for fairy tales. Now you have to learn history, which is real stories about real people.’
‘In that case,’ said Thoko, ‘give me a bit of real history.’
‘Once upon a time, a long time ago,’ I began, ‘King Nyamasoya ruled over the Republic of Mockracy…’
‘Half a minute,’ Thoko objected, ‘according to my teacher, a republic doesn’t have a king, it has a president. Otherwise its called a monarchy.’
‘Quite right,’ I agreed. ‘In fact Mockracy was originally supposed to be a democratic republic governed by a president. But Nyamasoya ignored the constitution and ruled like a king.’
‘So it was a mockery of a democracy,’ suggested Thoko.
‘Exactly,’ I agreed. ‘That was why it was called Mockracy.’
‘And was there an equally amusing reason for naming the king Nyamasoya?’
‘Definitely, I replied. ‘The king and all his ministers ate only meat, but his miserable subjects ate only soya.’
‘Why was that?’
‘Because the king had a huge appetite. Worse than that, all his ministers were dogs, who ate only meat. So there was no meat left over for anybody else.’
‘Let me get this straight,’ said Thoko seriously. ‘You say all his ministers were dogs. Now how did that happen?’
‘Nyamasoya,’ I explained, ‘was very old and tired and not very bright. He couldn’t face the prospect of having ministers with ideas different from his, or ministers who would criticise him, or contradict him, or try to oust him.’
‘As would happen in a democratic government,’ suggested Thoko.
‘Exactly,’ I said. ‘He just wanted boot-lickers and brown-nosers with no brains, who would accept his every command, irrespective of how stupid, and be unquestioningly loyal to him. He wanted ministers who would whimper and faun before the king, but growl viciously at all his enemies. A mindless cabinet for a mindless king!’
‘Dogs were the ideal solution!’ said Thoko.
‘Or so he thought,’ I laughed. ‘He thought he would have a quiet life. But you see, not being very bright, poor old Nyamasoya knew nothing of the vicious world of dog politics.’
‘Dog politics? Is there any such thing?’
‘There you are!’ I laughed. ‘Nyamasoya was just like you, he only knew of domesticated dogs like your soppy labrador Sonya, who eats out of your hand. But he knew nothing of dogs’ relations with each other. He knew nothing of dog-fights and dog packs. He knew nothing of how bulldogs and rottweilers can attack their owners.’
‘Dogs don’t always respect human rights,’ suggested Thoko.
‘The only principle of dog politics is dog-eat-dog. As far as humans are concerned, their only concern is to steal all our meat and eat it.’
‘So the dogs didn’t make very good ministers,’ suggested Thoko.
‘The king thought he had recruited proper hunting dogs, who would steal meat in order to bring it to their master. Instead he had recruited wild dogs and hyenas from the forest who kept all the meat for themselves.’
‘So his ministers were useless to him?’
‘They were only stealing for themselves. In the end he was reduced to employing his own relatives to go and steal meat for him, despite owning all these dogs. And ordinary people had nothing at all. The people were getting thinner and thinner, while the dogs were getting fatter and fatter. As the dogs ran increasingly out of control, things got worse and worse.’
‘So did the king finally take action to correct the situation?’
‘The king, being old and feeble minded, couldn’t think what to do. His only idea was to travel from one country to another, seeking advice from other kings on the best course of action.’
‘And did that help him?’
‘Oh yes. It saved him from being eaten by the wild dogs. He used to come home just to change his clothes, before quickly setting off on another foreign trip.’
‘But didn’t the people rebel?’
‘It was difficult. The Minister for Suppressing Human Revolts had put a particularly vicious little runt, called Whippet Bandit, in charge of the Canine Cadres, who were responsible for terrorising the townships. In the absence of the king, the country was now run by the Movement of Mad Dogs, the dreaded MMD, and no sound was allowed except the barking of dogs.’
‘But surely some brave soul must have protested!’ Thoko insisted.
‘You’re right,’ I admitted. ‘One brave priest raised a red card in protest.’
‘And did the dogs get the message?’
‘Oh Yes. When a dog sees red, it sees blood. The priest was eaten alive.’
‘And did Nyamasoya, in all his travels, finally find the solution to the problem?’
‘Oh yes. He finally reached China, and arranged for millions of Chinese to invade Mockracy and eat all the dogs.’
‘And did they?’
‘Oh yes. Not only that, they also dug up all the copper and cut down all the trees. Now the country is just desert.’
‘Is this really true history?’ Thoko asked suspiciously.
‘So much so,’ I replied, ‘that even to this day, when a country has been completely spoilt and ruined by thieves and idiots, people will say it has gone to the dogs.’

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