How to Feed a Dictator

A journey through dictatorships with Belarus as its final destination.

Photo Saddam Hussein © ANP Photo

Program EDITOR
Rokhaya Seck
MAde possible by
What did Pol Pot eat while two million Cambodians starved to death? Did Idi Amin really eat human flesh? And how did Saddam Hussein make good on his motto, “no revolution without a full belly”?

During the Night of the Dictatorship, you can enjoy a bowl of Saddam Hussein’s favourite fish soup while listening to the tales of Polish journalist Witold Szabłowski. Traveling across four continents, Szabłowski tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators with a reputation for suppressing and murdering their own population. We end the journey close to home in Belarus, also known as Europe’s last dictatorship. Dasha Slabchanka and Hanna Adzinets are present to give the latest update on developments in their home country.

On account of COVID-19, the interview with Szabłowski will be conducted online. Stories from his book How to feed a dictator (2020) will be read aloud live. Dasha Slabchanka and Hanna Adzinets will attend the event in person


Witold SzabłowskiResearch journalist and writer
Dasha SlabchankaPolitical activist from Belarus
Hanna AdzinetsSoftware Engineer from Belarus
Arabi GhibehActor
Sophie RutenfransModerator

Night of the Dictatorship

This year, the tenth edition of the annual festival Night of the Dictatorship – as a provocative counterpart to the Day of Democracy – will be held on Thursday 24 September. ProDemos, De Balie, TivoliVredenburg, Forum Groningen and Studium Generale Groningen are teaming up to offer a full evening devoted to authoritarian regimes, democracy and the rule of law. Due to the coronavirus measures, this year the Night will take place (largely) online, but there are two live programmes at De Balie. From 7.30 to 8.30pm, you are welcome to attend How to feed a dictator with Witold Szablowski and from 9 to 11pm, De lange arm van Teheran.

Festival programme at De Balie
7:30 – 8:30PMHow to Feed a Dictator
9:00 – 11:00PMDe lange arm van Teheran