3.2 – The “Monkey Master” fable

March 2nd, 2012

This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted from books published by Albert Einstein Institution.

Be inspired! Be coordinated! And take action!

ማጭበርበርና ማስፈራራት ፤ ሁለቱ የአምባገነን መሣሪያዎች
In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service. The people of Chu called him “monkey master”.
Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard, and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruits from bushes and trees. It was the rule that each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man. Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly flogged. All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but dared not complain.
One day, a small monkey asked the other monkeys: “Did the old man plant all the fruit trees and bushes?” The others said: “No, they grew naturally.” The small monkey further asked: “Can’t we take the fruits without the old man’s permission?” The others replied: “Yes, we all can.” The small monkey continued: “Then, why should we depend on the old man; why must we all serve him?”

Before the small monkey was able to finish his statement, all the monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened.
On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely. They also took the fruits the old man had in storage, brought all with them to the woods, and never returned. The old man finally died of starvation.

The lesson is clear:
“Dictators rule their people by tricks (በማጭበርበርና በማስፈራራት) and not by righteous principles
.”

Aren’t they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their mental delusional disorder. As soon as their people become enlightened, their tricks no longer work.
Dictators only rule because we allow them to rule. Dictators require our assistance to maintain their power. We go along with dictatorships because we believe, for whatever reason, that their authority is legitimate, and that we have a moral or ethical duty to support them. Some obey them because of fear of punishment, imprisonment, exile or even death.

On the other hand, withdrawal of popular and institutional cooperation with dictators diminishes, and may sever, the availability of the sources of power on which all rulers depend. Without availability of those sources, the dictator’s power weakens and finally dissolves…Over time, the withholding of the sources of power can produce paralysis and impotence of the regime, and in severe cases, its disintegration.

So, Folks, ask yourselves, what do you really need your monkey master for?

To view the four major requirements that must be fulfilled to bring down አጭበርባሪና አስፈራሪ ገዢን CLICK HERE Major Action Areas to Bring Down the “Monkey Master”