Right royal company

28 01 2013

We at PPT can’t help but wonder what kind of polity would best suit the ultra-royalists like the lot who run the courts handing out enormous sentences for, say, words unspoken, fictional accounts of royals or political speeches. As we browsed accounts of Thai-style democracy here and here, we wondered if The Economist last week didn’t provide some direction when describing the Thai monarchy’s brother rulers in the Middle East.

Kuwait:

Faced in recent months by unprecedented mass demonstrations demanding broader democracy, the sleekly rich city-state’s riot police have gained a nasty reputation for brutality.

Oman:

… is far more autocratic, but political opposition had been muted before a sprinkling of protests in 2011. In response the government promised reforms, but since last May it has instead jailed some 42 dissidents.

Qatar:

… in November a Qatari court sentenced a poet, Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb, to life in prison for mocking the emir and his family.

United Arab Emirates:

Cybercrime legislation now makes it an offence simply to advocate “change in the political system”. But even without that law, the previously lenient Emirati authorities had been cracking down. In the past year they have arrested at least 77 bloggers and human-rights activists, stripped others of citizenship and denied 200-odd the right to travel.

Bahrain:

The 2011 crackdown by Bahrain’s rulers left nearly 100 dead and the island kingdom dangerously split between a Shia majority and loyalist Sunnis…. Bahraini courts have continued to dispense cruel justice. This month the highest appeal court upheld life sentences for seven men accused of calling for anti-government demonstrations.

For anyone following events in Thailand, this all sounds remarkably familiar. Monarchies seem to come together on political tactics when defending their economic and political privileges.


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