A few weeks ago there was a minor dispute over the hardly-prestigious and practically-insignificant position of the “vice-president” of the Jordanian Journalists Union. At the time of the elections, there was an agreement between the two candidates to alternate holding the position over the term of the council. When the first half of the term expired, one of them refused to honor the agreement and held on to the “chair” claiming that he was the highest vote-getter anyway and that there is nothing official that binds him to giving it up, hence the case was taken to some constitutional court. Then, both disputing “journalists” came to their senses and realized that they are fighting to be “in charge” (using the term very loosely) of a distinguished group of brain-dead high-school failures, flag-waving regime fawners, who are one step away from being issued a drum and a trumpet each (actually many of them already received the musical instruments, and a decent few opted for the gag). So they worked the situation out and avoided further embarrassment.
A few months earlier, the one-time influential Jordanian left, represented by the various midget-sized invisible communist parties, decided to regroup and held an “enormous” conference gathering historic figures along with old and new comrades trying to unite, and revive some of the glory days. The comrades’ main dispute, which eventually led to the failure of the unity attempt, was over the selection of the “Central Committee” members. A secretary general of a current completely obscure party insisted on holding such a seat and refused to settle for a position on the less-prestigious “Executive Committee”, making an argument for his “weight” and historic contribution to the struggle. The funny thing is that the whole gathering including current and historic leaders, current and former members, organizers, supporters, and bystanders could not have completed the load of a small Coaster bus.
If we examine the situation on this elementary level, can we blame a king for trading-in his father for a chair (or even a mattress)? Can we blame another king for back-stabbing his brother, another for sending his dad to a mental institute or another for even conspiring to murder him when the stakes are that high?! If the chair on a school students-council at the fifth grade level may lead to bloodshed, can we blame the owner of a country and everything on it for threatening to destroy anything that comes close to his throne and or another one who is willing to collaborate with the devil (i.e. Israel in the case of the late King Hussein and Jordan) to preserve the chair?
Imagine being responsible for a group of five people. One cannot understand who covets such a situation! Leadership usually contains some privileges, but in reality the main and (maybe only) purpose of these privileges is to allow the leader to perform the DUTIES. So you are the group leader of the five on a trip. They all hand you their money so that you can be in charge of the food supply for the whole trip. A few egotistical emotions may flow in your system as a result of being in possession of all the money. Maybe some feelings of pride and some sense of control. But practically you should be very worried: You are responsible for making the money last for the whole trip; you have to be aware of the collective fortune at all time and cannot lose it or everyone will starve; your integrity maybe subjected to questioning in the case of any misfortune (even at the level of one below-average meal served), and that is only the money planning duties! Seriously, who fights for that?
The chair becomes an issue of dispute and a life-long target in the case when the benefits become exceedingly disproportionate to the duties, with the most extreme example being the leadership of every third world country (unlimited resources for ZERO duties or responsibility). This phenomenon drags down from the palaces to every other organization and is apparent at every other position that comes with a title. It is actually very analogous to the situation of the army ranks in the countries with dormant/doormat armies. If you are a
Of course, the power hunger and the passion for being in charge could be a human desire that may not be that effortless to control and suppress. Any “position”, no matter how trivial, can very tempting and can be almost impossible to secede. That is why those who managed to perform that seemingly-impossible feat and forfeit a power position have engraved their names in the history books:
On the bright side in some places of the world there do exist a character called a living ex-president and there is a decent chance for a head of state to walk away from the great responsibility in a dignified way: Not on the hands of a conspiring son, not on the hands of an army general who slaughters him along with the next three generations of his family, nor would it be on the hands of a foreign army who would take his beloved chair and…..execute him on it.