Healers with long flowing beards are reaching for the razors. The pigtails are being cut off and top knots are going the way of the mullet. Forget the financial crisis, it’s been a desperate week for the alternative therapy industry since the ‘Beast of Bosnia’, Radovan Karadzic, was discovered beneath a guru’s beard posing as a New Age practitioner in something called “human quantum energy”, which he claims to channel through his skull via his platted hair. A real head-case in other words.
That it is apparently so easy for a genocidal mass murderer to recycle himself as a benign mystic and lecturer in Ayurovedic medicine has been seen as a poor reflection of professional standards in complementary medicine. But perhaps we should be seeing in this inspired career a solution to the problem of what do to with dictators. A harmless alternative to homicidal megalomania.
Others may even have beat Radovan to it. Saddam Hussein was also discovered with a beard and long grey hair living in in a hole in Iraq. The assumption was that the Butcher of Baghdad was hiding from the American armed forces, but perhaps he was really on a hardcore meditation retreat, preparing himself psychologically for a future of spiritual leadership. He was certainly living a life of fasting and contemplation.
Maybe we should be discretely suggesting to other tyrants that it is time to make the personal political and start taking up alternative lifestyles. Robert Mugabe, of Zimbabwe, would be a shoo in for assertiveness training. Kim Jong Il, the communist dictator of North Korea, already has the oriental appearance which would allow him to make a fortune in herbal medicine. Than Shwe of Burma could chill out as a specialist in Reiki foot massage and psychic channelling. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan may be a Muslim, but that shouldn’t prevent him doing his bit for holistic medicine by taking up aromatherapy and crystallography.
There are more than seventy countries in the world ruled by dictators, who suppress freedom of speech and the right to a fair trial. Far better to have them turn chiropractice than more conventional forms of torture. And there are also some pretty dodgy democrats too like Vladimir Putin, who with his KGB experience would be great as a life coach specialising acupuncture.
The possibilities are endless and, remember, turning dictators into quacks is a lot cheaper than invasion, sorry “humanitarian intervention”. Which brings us to one other really sinister character who is still on the loose and evading justice. Responsible for an illegal war and the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, Tony Blair is believed to be posing as a Middle East peace envoy and promoter of global faith awarness. It’s surely time he too was exposed and sent to the Hague for a fair trial.