Not as clueless

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There’s more than a hint of wishful thinking whenever this country’s so-called leaders are forced to comment on such events as the shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad last December 14 (December 15th in Manila). Usually they say it can’t happen here. But if you listened harder, you could practically hear them muttering that they hope it doesn’t happen here.

Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi of the Al-Baghdadia television network based in Cairo, Egypt, threw his size 10s at George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference al-Zaidi thought would have only Iraqi leaders as guests. He was wrestled to the ground by Iraqi security forces, was subsequently tortured, and could get a two-year jail sentence.

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Is Greece burning?

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ATHENS, Greece — The streamers in English that among those in Greek festooned the iron fences were demanding more funds for the ongoing restoration work, as well as the reinstatement of dismissed employees. A small, crudely handwritten sign, hardly visible among the streamers, said the site was closed, and would remain closed. The employees were on strike.

The site was no factory, however, but the Acropolis, the complex of ancient buildings and monuments that Greeks say is “the symbol of Athens,” “the sacred rock” linking ancient Greek civilization with the modern city. Within its walls were, among others, the Parthenon, the temple Athenians had built 600 years before Christ and dedicated to Pallas Athena, the ancient goddess of wisdom, after whom the now modern city of Athens is named.

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Lands of uncertainty

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The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has returned control of Thailand’s major airports to authorities. But it doesn’t mean that Thailand’s political troubles are ending.

PAD activists, who had occupied Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports for a week, left after the Thai Constitutional Court (the equivalent of the Philippines’ Supreme Court) gave them a face-saving way out by disbanding the ruling People Power Party and barring Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and other PPP leaders from politics for five years for electoral fraud. PAD leaders claimed victory in their six-month campaign to remove Somchai. But there’s general agreement that Thailand has not yet seen the worst of the political crisis, which not incidentally is costing its economy billions.

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