Defend a doomed dictator speechwriting competition

Bizarre speeches in defence of doomed dictatorships are forming a curious backdrop to the wind of change now blowing across North Africa and the Middle East.

As I've already pointed out (HERE), an ability to speak effectively to a mass audience isn't a necessary job qualification for an autocrat, whether hereditary or self-appointed.

So it's not particularly surprising that the best efforts of Mubarak, Gadaffi Junior and the crown prince of Bahrain have either done, or will eventually be shown by history to have done, them more harm than good.

This raises the interesting question of whether a good speechwriter could do (0r could have done) anything to save them - and has prompted this competition.

Your challenge:
Either Write a short speech for the past or present dictator of your choice (or one of his relations) that would clear their streets of protesters and put a stop to their unreasonable behaviour once and for all.

Or Rewrite (and shorten) one of the speeches already given so that it would have cleared their streets of protesters and put a stop to their unreasonable behaviour once and for all.

Or - Twitter challenge: Since news of the competition was first posted, there have been a number of imaginative tweets of sound bites from such a speech. I've therefore decided to create a special class for 140 character Twitter entries (for which the 1st prize will be a signed copy of the shortest book I've ever written).

Deadline: 28th February 2011

Main Prize: Winning entry will be posted on this blog, and its author rewarded with a free copy of Lend Me Your Ears: All You Need to Know about Making Speeches and Presentations, signed by the author.

Twitter Prize: Signed copy of Speech-making and Presentation Made Easy.

13 comments:

  1. Friends, Libyans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears.

    I come to bury Colonel Gadaffi, not to praise him.

    I’m not going to read to you from a document.

    But speak to you from the heart.

    I’m not going to address you in classical Arabic.

    But talk to you in Libyan.

    Above all, I’m not going to hide from you.

    I’m going to say it as it is.

    And it may be a bit messy. But it’ll be me.

    We now have a huge opportunity for change.

    It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    We’ve seen it happening in Egypt, in Tunisia…

    …and now, here, in Libya.

    Not change brought about by foreign governments.

    Not change brought about by traitors.

    But change brought about by us, the people.

    And there are some who are trying to resist that change.

    So I say to you very simply:

    Go back to your constituencies – and prepare for government.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. For Colonel Gadaffi (to be made at the start of the unrest):

    42 years ago I led a glorious people's revolution which overthrew the corrupt enemy of Libya King Idris.

    Today I am proud to see that the spirit of the people's revolution has been passed on to the younger generation.

    I know why you, my fellow Libyans and revolutionaries are angry. I am but a man and I have made mistakes, mistakes and misjudgements which have led to the violence we see today, the same violence which is tearing our nation apart. I accept full responsibility for this. The fault is mine.

    The people have spoken and I will respect their decision. I ask you only, from the bottom of my heart, for the chance to change. For the chance to change Libya to the nation you desire. For the chance to join with you in completing the people's revolution.

    I denounce the rogue elements of the security forces that have disobeyed orders and attacked the people. Their commanders shall be tried by people's tribunals and punished accordingly.

    I hereby draw a line under the past. I hereby request every city to choose representatives to attend a national congress to be held in Benghazi in 14 days. There I will listen to the demands of the people and submit myself to their will.

    In the meantime, I urge you, my fellow countrymen, to end the bloodshed. Return to your homes and your jobs. The security forces will leave you in peace. Work together to clear the streets so that all can return to living without fear. Your demands will be met, but in the meantime let us stop any more blood from being shed, any more heads being broken and any more lives being lost.

    I have heard you pleas as father of the people and I will work with all of you to build a new Libya of which we all can approve!

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  5. (former) President Mubarak:

    I am here today to speak to you
    not as your President
    but as a fellow Egyptian

    I know you’re angry,
    You’re frustrated
    And you’re hungry for change

    We’ve come a long way together
    I’ve served you as your President for nearly 30 years
    And I hope I have served you well

    Now, as you line the streets
    The world is watching

    We have not had an easy journey together
    Our struggles with our neighbours
    And each other
    have been difficult over the years
    And now is no different

    But we stand at a precipice
    A turning point in history
    And we must choose the right path
    Or risk losing everything we have built together

    I have heard your call for Democracy
    And I accept it
    The time has come for a new Egypt

    An Egypt of strong citizens
    Who will strengthen our nation
    And build a new future for us all

    But if I were to step down today
    I would leave the nation in uncertainty
    With terrorists,
    foreign governments
    and other enemies of Egypt
    looking to use this chaos
    to undermine and attack
    the principles of freedom and democracy
    that we all seek

    I know I should have done more before today
    But I ask you now
    To let me stand with you
    And deliver the change that we so desperately need

    I can announce today that I will be appointing a reforming cabinet immediately
    Who will set a timetable for an urgent election

    And once an orderly transition is in place over the coming days
    I will step down
    and allow the Prime Minister to oversee new, free and fair elections
    to deliver the hope of a new Egypt,
    and fulfil the promise of this new generation!

    So I ask you all
    return to your jobs, your homes and your families
    and together we will start a new chapter in our history

    May the peace and mercy and blessings of Allah be upon us all.

    ReplyDelete
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  8. We now have a huge opportunity for change.

    It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    We’ve seen it happening in Egypt, in Tunisia…

    …and now, here, in Libya.

    Not change brought about by foreign governments.

    Not change brought about by traitors.

    But change brought about by us, the people.

    And there are some who are trying to resist that change.

    So I say to you very simply:

    Go back to your constituencies – and prepare for governmen

    ReplyDelete
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