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How do Mad Dictators Know When to Quit?

I went to the protests in Cairo yesterday and came up with some advice.

Knowing when to quit is tough. How do you leave the no-hope band you've played in since you were 14? How do you leave that boyfriend or girlfriend once the good times are gone? At 27, is it finally time to stop living with your mum?

If you can identify with problems like these, spare a thought for dictators across the Middle East. They just don't know when to quit. As a service to these poor, besieged souls, here is a helpful pictorial guide offering pointers that should help lighten the burden of this tough decision. In their heart of hearts, they know the moment has passed, but happy memories pull them back: flirting over tea with the wives of other world leaders, walking at evening amidst the delicate scents of the presidential gardens, absolute power of life or death over millions of people, that sort of thing.


The occasion for these pictures are Friday's protests on Mansour Street, Cairo, by roughly 10,000 thuggish ingrates complaining about the odd death or 70 here and there. So, here goes.

1: You know when to quit when ten-year-old kids hate you so much they're willing to risk asphyxia in order to throw burning weapons at the heads of your minions.

2: Or rocks. Basically, once tweens want you to die, it's time to go.

3: People are getting up in the morning and basing their outfit around different ways in which you have tried to kill them.

4: It probably time to GTFO when this guy (or any guy!) is willing to stand on top of a concrete block, choking, while tear gas falls around him, just to set the mood for other people to attack your people.

5: Do you really want to mess with this guy? No, you don't.

6: If more than 3,000 human beings have been injured in the last two days in your country, and people are still more angry than they are scared, it's a bad sign.

7: Burning hot canisters of tear gas. Never a sign that things are going harmoniously.

8: People are taking breaks from fighting your police to cry, and then going back out to fight again. At the time of writing, there are three dead in Cairo and four in Suez.

These are all good indications that, if you are still in power, you should leave now. Happy to help. By the way, a friend is friends with the daughter of Sami Anan, the number two general here in Egypt. Apparently he has said that if this carries on for another week the junta are going to quit. Now, I can't believe that, and you probably shouldn't either. But wouldn't it be great? All photos and words: @tom_d_