Filmmaker shows the sinister and, sometimes, bizarre reality of life under dictators

I thoroughly recommend the TV series “Dictatorland”, which is going out on BBC Three at the moment. You can watch the episodes as they are published on BBC iPlayer. Young journalist and filmmaker Benjamin Zand travelled, at some risk to him and his crew, to a number of countries which still have dictatorships.

So far, his trips to Belarus, Tajikstan and Kazahkstan have been broadcast.

Zand acts as our guide in a very appealing and informative way. The programmes are truly fascinating. He describes the dictator and the country’s political regime, and meets people who have tried to oppose it. Those he meets have often been put in jail for long periods. You have to admire their courage in talking to the BBC.

Judging from the programme’s opening graphics, we still have Syria, North Korea and Zimbabwe to look forward to in the series.

The photo above shows Belarus leader, Alexander Lukashenko, playing ice hockey. The programme reveals his penchant of playing ice hockey with top teams and highlights his awful statement:

It is better to be a dictator than gay.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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4 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 1st Apr '17 - 7:12pm

    Does Poland want Belorussia in the EU? If so, how does that fit with the Acquis? Could the most extreme hyperbole of Kippers and other brexiteers actually happen?

  • The problem is that a lot of these countries have always been dictatorships or ruled by foreign powers. And really, it’s maybe better to just let the dictators die unless they are a direct military threat.

  • When the dictators are old, it does seem to be a better plan. Granted, their successor may be worse, and there could be instability, but when a country is not used to democracy, it’s not as easy as holding an election, and getting a new government. This is especially true in countries where fans of democracy had a habit of disappearing, and the whole kind of information infrastructure necessary for democracy barely exists.

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