Most of us live in countries with a democratic government. We rely on it to run the country, and make the right decisions. But what if the government changed? And the next thing you know, you’re living under the rule of a dictatorship?
Your life could change dramatically. What would be different?
First, let’s make sure we know the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy. In a democracy, citizens vote for the people they want to lead. This happens in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.
A dictatorship is very different. One person, or a small group of people, has absolute power over a nation. Two infamous names come to mind from the last century, Hitler and Stalin Mussolini. They both used ideology and terror to control their people.
If this were to happen to you and your country, it begs the questions. How likely is it that your country could become a dictatorship? What could you do to stop a dictatorship from seizing power? And who could you trust?
Step 1 – Speak up.
If you think your country could be falling into a dictatorship, make sure you speak up. You’ll be running out of time. History shows that dictatorships can take over in a snap.
Step 2 – Be skeptical.
Dictatorships use propaganda. In recent years, we know it as fake news. Don’t believe everything you see or hear in the media. Newspapers, TV, and the internet can all be controlled by dictatorships. So think critically and logically. Being skeptical can help you assess the information you hear. And being self-aware is crucial to keeping a balanced view of what is going on.
Step 3 – Trust no one.
If a dictatorship rules your country, you don’t know who you can trust. Your neighbor, your best friend, or even your family could be against you. Anyone could be a spy, so be careful what you say to everyone. If you disagree with the dictatorship, you’ll never know who might be listening in on your conversations.
Step 4 – Keep your head down.
People who stand out from the crowd by expressing their views will be the first to disappear. To survive, let people know you do not oppose the dictatorship. Fall into line and follow the rules. Take extra care if you are part of a minority group, and we’re not just talking about race. Any minority group could be targeted. Your religious views, sexual orientation, and other factors could be a target of persecution.
Step 5 – Flee the country.
This is a big step to take. You would be leaving your home, maybe your family, and everything you know. But this could be your only option to escape from a dictatorship. If you’re lucky, neighboring countries will accept refugees. If they don’t, escaping could be just as risky as staying in your country. In recent times, there have been stories of people fleeing from North Korea. Every year 1,000 people escape the country in search of a better life.
Step 6 – Don’t lose hope.
Maybe the most important thing you can do under a dictatorship is to hold on to hope. If you lose hope, the other steps you took to survive could be for nothing. Losing hope could be devastating. If you have a family, they will rely on you to stay strong. Even if you cannot fight or oppose the dictatorship, be hopeful, knowing that someone is fighting and you are not alone. Celebrate little things to keep your spirits up. Your culture and traditions are important, so don’t forget who you are. You never know what will happen. The dictatorship could be toppled as quickly as it took power.
We need to make it clear that the likelihood of a dictatorship happening in most places in the world is unlikely. In recent times, countries like the US and India have shown signs and ideology associated with dictatorships, but in reality it would be very unlikely to happen. The one thing we do know from history is that dictatorships always bring about persecution and deaths of millions of people. But even through all the terror, hope and love always seem to prevail.
- “Dictatorship | Definition, Characteristics, Countries, & Facts”. 2021. Encyclopedia Britannica.
- “What Is A Democracy? [Ushistory.Org]”. 2021. ushistory.org.
- “The Meaning of Democracy”. Coleman, Michael. 2021. dlc.dcccd.edu.
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- “National Parliaments: India”. 2021. loc.gov.
- “Is India becoming a dictatorship?” Gabriel, Power. 2021. theweek.co.uk.
- “Five more years of Narendra Modi will take India to a dark place”. Kapil Komireddi. 2019. The Guardian.