You never know what’s going to push you over the edge. For me, it was this quote from the Burmese militant monk and hate-monger Wirathu:
“The world singled us out as narrow-minded. But as people from the country that is the grandfather of democracy and human rights elected Donald Trump, who is similar to me in prioritizing nationalism, there will be less finger-pointing from the international community.“
It’s been a bad, bad weak for America’s democratic ideals. The incoming administration has selected a white supremacist propagandist for chief strategist and an unhinged Islamaphobe for national security advisor. And meanwhile, congratulations have poured in from a who’s who of the world’s dictators and demagogues, all gloating about America’s forthcoming abandonment of the human rights agenda.
But Wirathu’s comment is particularly galling. Once described by Time Magazine as “The Face of Buddhist Terror“, he is an extremist who has fomented hate speech and ethnic cleansing against Burma’s Muslim Rohingya minority.
Burma’s government is currently engaged in a vicious crackdown on the Rohingya that has left over 100 dead. Victims and human rights advocates allege that the security forces have conducted a campaign of systematic rape and destruction. But the government refuses to allow journalists or human rights monitors access to the area, and its representatives have claimed that the locals are burning down their own homes, and that Rohingya women are too “dirty” and “unhygienic” to rape.
And now a vocal proponent of this violence thinks it’s totally plausible that Americans might wish to learn from Burma’s treatment of Muslims:
“In America, there can be organizations like us who are protecting against the dangers of Islamization. Those organizations can come to organizations in Myanmar to get suggestions or discuss …Myanmar doesn’t really need to get suggestions from other countries. But they can get ideas from Myanmar.“
This is our reality now, everyone.
WTF doesn’t even begin to cover it.
On Tuesday, Americans voted on the following four questions:
- Do presidents need any governing experience or policy knowledge?
- Is sexual assault a bad thing to do?
- Is it a problem to run on a platform of revoking the rights of broad classes of citizens?
- Can women be in charge of stuff?
Turns out the answer to all of them was a resounding “no, not so much”.
This result is a disaster for so many people. For people of color, for women, for religious minorities, for the LGBT community, for immigrants and refugees, for people with disabilities, and for anyone who cares about someone in one or more of these categories. It’s cold comfort to know that our president-elect will hate the task of governing and that the GOP leadership will spend four miserable years struggling to work with someone they despise.
But if Hillary Clinton could get up off the mat and make the graceful and moving concession speech she gave on Wednesday, and if America’s classiest couple can grit their teeth and welcome the epitome of tackiness into their home, then perhaps the rest of us can sack up too. Maybe. Eventually. When we finally stop crying.
In the meantime, a moment of silence for the death of all of our hopes and dreams.
*Image screengrabbed from The Washington Post.
This week’s standout “WTF” was South Africa’s sudden withdrawal from the International Criminal Court. My thoughts, coauthored with Stephanie Schwartz: Is this the end of the International Criminal Court?
Here’s the blurb:
So this election’s October Surprise turns out to be that the Republican candidate for president is a sloppily-drawn allegorical embodiment of rape culture. In other misogyny news from around the internet:
Iran will execute a child bride (now 22 years old) for the murder of her husband in 2012. She was convicted after a trial that Amnesty International calls “grossly unfair“, and alleges that she was beaten by the police and coerced into confessing to the crime. Oh, and having just given birth to a stillborn baby in prison, she’s being denied postnatal care prior to her execution.
After rejecting all seven of the qualified female candidates for Secretary General, the UN has chosen Wonder Woman as an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Because the UN is the literal worst.
And since I started writing this blog post, two more women have come forward to accuse of Trump of assault.
What a week.
…And, we’re back.
Just in time, too, because everything is totally batshit f-ing crazy. If it’s not perennial WTF Friday star Rodrigo Duterte proclaiming Hitler as his own personal role model, it’s his bright orange demagogue doppelgänger insisting that all that breathtaking misogyny is simply an entertaining shtick he’s been refining over the last several decades.
Oh, and in Misogyny News, Global Edition, an Egyptian MP has called for mandatory virginity testing for any woman hoping to attend college. (Egypt’s female parliamentarians are NOT amused.)
But at least we should have plenty of “Hillary Clinton, Defender of Baby Bunnies” memes to look forward to. Could someone get started on that, please?
Gah, WTF America?
And WTF New York Post? Could this be any more histrionic and irresponsible?
That’s really all I have to say today. Here’s hoping for better times ahead.
Welp, here it is Friday again, and this week’s round-up is… bleak.
The great hope of Burmese democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, has banned use of the term “Rohingya”, in favor of the oh-so-much-simpler “people who believe in Islam in Rakhine state“.
Eight high school students in Burundi have been arrested for seditious scribbling on a photo of President Pierre Nkrunziza. Because nothing says “we’re totally a democracy” like detaining children for what barely count as political views.
In yet another great sign about how the Rio Olympics are going to go, a jaguar participating (for some reason) in a torch relay was shot and killed when it escaped from its handler.
Oh, and remember the United Kingdom? That’s pretty much over.
I can’t even with this week, you guys. #Orlando, the unbelievable hypocrisy of the anti-gay-until-5-min-ago American right, the shocking murder of Jo Cox… it’s all just the absolute worst.
So I’m going to leave off the extended rants on a Kenyan court’s failure to strike down forcible anal exams, the Indonesian government’s decision to fire live ammunition to repel a boat full of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers from reaching the shore, or this idiotic “eat like a refugee” awareness campaign (h/t Rise Refugee on that one).
Instead, I’ll just leave you with this: “cat wine” is a thing that exists now. Enjoy your weekend, and try not to worry that our civilization is in its death throes.
This week, in alarming news:
Migrant men from Afghanistan and Syria are selling sex to survive in Greece.
Amnesty International reports that Germany is failing to address a huge increase in hate crimes, including many targeted at asylum-seekers and refugees.
Fiat Argentina’s latest car manual reads like it was dug up in a time capsule from 1966. (H/T: Kendyl Salcito for this amazing nonsense.)
And the authorship attribution on NYT op-eds turns out to be kind of a guesstimate. A piece called “South Sudan Needs Truth, Not Trials“, ostensibly written by the country’s President and Vice-President, had only been up for a few hours when reports began circulating that VP Riek Machar denied any involvement. Oops.