Ides of March: Tips for Dictatorlings


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It is the Ides of March, a day that among other things commemorates the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BC. While it’s Shakespeare who made his death dramatically famous, the fact is the real Caesar was killed by about 20 of his closest friends during an office meeting. Lesson learned? When you’re on top, trust no one! In honour of 15th March, here’s a quick guide to staying a step ahead of the competition.


Famous for killing millions of his fellow Russians, Josef Stalin (1878-1953) was probably ripe for an assassination, but survived at least 3 German attempts on his life before succumbing to either covert poisoning (or possibly just a natural stroke) a the ripe old age of 74. Given his track record, his comparatively quiet retirement was probably due to his paranoid elimination of anyone he remotely suspected of plotting against him.


What do Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914) and John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) have in common? Both were assassinated while travelling in open top vehicles, making them easy targets. The Archduke actually had a grenade thrown at him, and still saw no reason to ride in a closed carriage, before promptly being shot and killed later that afternoon. Meanwhile Kennedy was simply shot from a nearby roof. Takeaways from this are any mode of transport that exposes you to direct sunlight means you can be easily shot at – a fact made incredibly obvious albeit a bit too late – by the name of Kennedy’s optimistically named presidential limo, the “Sunshine Special”.


If you already believe you are politically invincible, why stop there? Be physically impossible to kill. Take a tip from a strong Russian contender: Rasputin (1869-1916). He was given poisoned cake, shot three times from close range, beaten with a rubber club, tied in a blanket and dumped into a freezing river, all in a single night. Even so the man partially freed himself and nearly escaped before finally drowning. Beat that, 50Cent.

But when it comes to dodging death, perhaps the ultimate escape artist is Fidel Castro (1926-present) who reportedly survived 638 assassination attempts including an exploding cigar, poisoned food, and a mistress with a grudge and a pot of face cream. He’d be the guy who’d survive every instalment of Final Destination.

If it’s anything these leaders teach us, it’s to keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

Afterall, what good does it do having unlimited power, if the last words you gurgle on this earth are “E tu, Ah Boon?!”