The Dictatorship Syndrome

by Alaa Al Aswany / translated by Russell Harris

‘Alaa Aswany first and foremost reminds the storytellers of the world that at this point in time they all have a moral responsibility to look the reality in the eye and tell the story of the truth. The great story teller cures the current perils of humanity with his words.’ – Ece Temelkuran

‘The book helps us scrutinise and better understand ourselves, as citizens and members of society, as much as it gives a sharp analytical insight into the complex elements that constitute dictatorships in the Middle East and what fate may await.’ – Inside Arabia

The study of dictatorship in the West has acquired an almost exotic dimension. But authoritarian regimes remain a painful reality for billions of people worldwide who still live under them, their freedoms violated and their rights abused. They are subject to arbitrary arrest, torture, corruption, ignorance, and injustice. What is the nature of dictatorship? How does it take hold? In what conditions and circumstances is it permitted to thrive? And how do dictators retain power, even when reviled and mocked by those they govern?

In this deeply considered and at times provocative short work, Alaa Al Aswany tells us that, as with any disease, to understand the syndrome of dictatorship we must first consider the circumstances of its emergence, along with the symptoms and complications it causes in both the people and the dictator.

ALAA AL ASWANY’s The Yacoubian Building has sold over a million copies worldwide and his work has been published in over a hundred countries. Al Aswany was named by The Times as one of the fifty best authors to have been translated into English in the last fifty years.

Find Alaa on Twitter @AlaaAswany

RUSSELL HARRIS is an established translator of literary works from French and Arabic.

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