I learned two funny facts this morning about Saudi Arabia. First, the government is running for the UN Human Rights Council. Oh the irony. It’s hard to know where to start with that one!
But it gets even better than that folks. The second fact is that the brochure advocating their candidacy cites women’s rights in SA. Seriously–you can’t make this stuff up. And look at the photo that goes along with the supposed women’s rights:
Besides the photo, there are some really funny statements in the brochure, like “The Government allows women to achieve a number of accomplishments.” [my emphasis on the most insulting parts of the sentence]
Also, there is the ridiculous statement that “Saudi law does not differentiate between men and women. This ensures them freedom of action and the running of their own affairs independently and without any restriction.” Even if that were true, which it is absolutely not, the statement is incredibly insulting and patronizing. The government lets women run their own affairs. Gee thanks.
h/t to Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) for this morning’s irony fail.
This news piece on China is almost stranger than fiction.
First, a gigantic (121 feet tall), gold plated statue of Mao appears in the empty farm fields of Henan. This is terrifying and bizarre in itself. Imagine seeing this every morning on the way to farm your crops:
Second, what a spectacular waste of money. Who in the world, besides a corrupt government, would spend almost a half a million dollars on such a monstrosity? It’s so bad that I think we should rename the term “white elephant” to “gold Mao”.
The AFP reports that it was local entrepreneurs! Seriously. This is funny in a couple of different ways: (a) how did said local entrepreneurs make so much money if this is the way they think is a good way to spend it; (b) Henan is the “the centre of a famine in the late 1950s resulting from Mao’s economic policies estimated to have killed as many as 40 million people.” Hmm, maybe the entrepreneurs are trolling the Chinese public?
Lastly, the Chinese government just decided to demolish the statue and the reasoning is awesome: “Mao’s likeness was not registered or approved” by the local government. It took 9 months to build the frickin monstrosity! You think the local government might have made their decision before now. Obviously we are not getting the full story but I’d love to hear it. Sounds like a good one.
In a nice Orwellian move, China’s top censor has denied the fact that there is censorship in China! To wit, he stated that “China does not censor but ‘manages’ internet content.”
He goes on to helpfully clarify that “the Chinese government blocks some foreign websites because it ‘has the right to choose friends.'” So…censorship then! Indeed in Freedom House’s ranking of countries by internet freedom, China comes in dead last at #65. All that “management” is taking a toll.
Robert Mugabe went on a rant the other day about “thieving Kenyans” which was amazing in almost every way, but especially in its total lack of awareness of (1) his own corruption (perhaps he just doesn’t like competition) and (2) of the rampant corruption in Zimbabwe. It is ranked 156 out of 175 countries on Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Here’s the report about Mr. Mugabe abominable rant:
“Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched a verbal war with Kenyans. While Presiding over a funds drive in a city church on Sunday where he was the chief guest, Mugabe said that Kenyans are the most arrogant thieves in the world because they steal with high degree impunity.
‘Those people of East Africa shock me with their wizardry in stealing. Sometimes I tend to believe that stealing is in every Kenyan’s blood. These people go to their schools and read good courses but they qualify as the best thieves. You can even think that there is a subject in their universities called Bachelor of Stealing. Whenever they get an opportunity as employees, they never disappoint. They steal enough money to buy their freedom because even the judges who listen to their cases are financially powerless. I urge you my people to be on high alert in case you by bad luck, happen to visit that East African nation. They might infect you with that disease and we don’t want it here. Zimbabweans are honest people who love their country and don’t want such stealing tendencies ‘ He shouted with courage as he advised his nation.”
Here are some salient points:
a. Of course Mugabe was the chief guest. Duh!
b. What in the world precipitated such a torrid of hatred and why did he think a funds drive at a church was an appropriate venue to unleash it?
c. “Zimbabweans are honest people.” Umm…
d. This report is from a Kenyan newspaper, so why in the world did they publish that last line about shouting with courage. What does that even mean? I believe the shouting part but the courage and advising seem pretty dubious. It sounds like it was written by Mugabe himself.
There are so many contenders, but here are a few of my favorites.
1. I’m all in favor of human rights marches in Mexico, on pressuring the government for answers to the murdered students, but this march needs to look a little harder for role models:
h/t Compa Cesángari (@Censangari) and Alejandro Hope (@ahope71)
2. I recognize that the US has a terrible track record in unsolicited Latin American political interventions, but I think it’s necessary to recognize that governments can screw up their economics (and politics) all on their own. Not everything is driven by the US. Evo Morales disagrees. He blames the recent death of the crusading prosecutor in Argentina on the US, saying it was an ambush against comrade Cristina. Here are his exact words:
“Cuando fracasan con una agresión económica a la Argentina, ahora preparan una agresión política, como una emboscada a la compañera Cristina con la muerte del fiscal”, dijo el mandatario tras repasar lo que consideró “un triunfo” de nuestro país contra los fondos buitre. Ya no pueden hacer golpes de Estado, ya no pueden dominarnos militarmente, entonces buscan otras formas de golpe, de escarmiento, de amedrentamiento, especialmente a los presidentes antiimperialistas”.
(rough translation: “After they have failed with their economic agresión against Argentina, they now are preparing political aggression with an ambush. They can no longer orchestrate coups d’etat, they can no longer dominate us militarily, so they look for other kinds of blows, such as scarcity, of fright, especially against anti-imperialist presidents.” Note to readers: simply replace the word “they” with “the United States” and you will get the gist). @viaSimonRomero