Just when you thought the most competitive sport in Dubai couldn’t get any more exciting, the owners of purebred racing camels have gone and invented remote-control jockeys to whip their dromedaries to victory.
DUBAI, United Arab EmiratesA late-afternoon sandstorm had descended on the Al Marmoom racetrack, some 40 kilometers outside of Dubai, and dust swirled everywhere. But even with the harsh desert weather, the races went ahead as planned.The camels—many of them owned by the royal families of the United Arab Emirates—galloped along a five-kilometer track, with the fastest ones zipping past the finish line, like clockwork, on or near the 7:40 mark.
In troubled Abkhazia, just across the border from Sochi, poverty is rampant and futures uncertain—but the tiny ballerinas of the territory’s only dance school still have dreams of the big stage.
It was a scene that could have been found in any dance studio around the world: tiny ballerinas, ears sticking out beneath perfectly tight buns of hair, concentrated on doing their drills at the barre to the strains of Rachmaninov. Dressed in freshly-starched tutus, the little girls diligently performed battement tendus, demi-plies and passés as their teacher corrected their errors: “Chins up, suck in your bellies!” Only the peeling paint and the crumbling walls hinted that, for these students, a different reality lay outside.
Too often the Western opponents of militant jihad speak up for pluralism and free speech only so long as it’s their rights that are being protected.
One of the supposed core values of the so-called “counter-jihad movement,” a loosely organized collection of vocal activists battling what they believe is the immediate threat of an Islamic takeover of the West, is an unflinching defense of free speech. Because dominant parts of the political elite in many Western states have been hesitant to oppose the real threat that certain Islamic states and Islamist groups pose to free speech, as seen by, for example, their handwringing during the Danish “cartoon crisis,” the counterjihadis have had some success in posing as the true defenders of free speech.
The French award Dylan the Légion d’honneur, then place him under investigation for hate speech. Have they not been listening to what he’s sung about for half a century?
The chances of the French authorities attempting to arrest Bob Dylan are probably remote. Slapping the cuffs on a superstar to whom you have just pinned a shiny Légion d’honneur badge would a little look perverse, even by Gallic standards. It would seem sillier still if you were pursuing a figure who has had one or two things to say about human dignity down the years. To place him “under investigation” for alleged racism over remarks damning racial hatred would knock satire on its ear.
For a young journalist in South Africa Nelson Mandela as a young ANC leader was a major source on the anti-apartheid struggle. He recalls there late night clandestine meetings and the moment when Mandiba turned to violence.
Amid the worldwide mourning and praise for Nelson Mandela, memories flood in of past desperate times in South Africa when the entire police force was hunting him. Mandela was in hiding, running a campaign to end apartheid. I was a young reporter on the Rand Daily Mail newspaper in Johannesburg and my beat was black politics. Mandela and I met regularly, secretly at night, on a dark street in Johannesburg, so that he could brief me about his plans.
The future president of South Africa once considered guerilla warfare and terrorism to overturn Apartheid. Imprisoned for so long, his anger mellowed.
In Nelson Mandela’s autobiography he tells a story about a sparrow. This was in the early 1960s when the late South African leader was hiding out on a farm near Johannesburg with members of the Communist Party and the African National Congress and some of their families. They were plotting what was called “armed struggle” against the Apartheid regime. (Many others would call it terrorism.) But at the time Mandela’s only gun was an old air rifle he used for target practice and dove hunting.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have released waves of Taliban prisoners in a goodwill gesture—but instead of returning home as promised, the radicals are flocking to rejoin the fight against the West.
Abdullah never gives up. The senior Taliban commander, who goes by one name, lost a leg in the fighting in late 2001 just as Mullah Mohammad Omar’s forces were collapsing. He was captured and sent to the U.S. lockup at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Released from the Cuban prison in late 2005, he was immediately rearrested when he arrived in Pakistan and spent the next five years in a Pakistani jail run by the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
He will be forever linked with the abolition of apartheid, but he was also a friend of Gaddafi and Castro, and we must accept his shortcomings to truly fathom his accomplishments.
We will hear much in the coming days about Nelson Mandela’s surplus of saintly qualities, of which there were indeed many. And we will be treated to the interminable and drippy encomiums of pundits and celebrities who couldn’t differentiate the ANC from the BBC, wouldn’t know Joe Slovo from Slobodan Milosevic. We can be snide about it, but they’ll all start with the correct premise: Mandela was a man of unique bravery who designed the dismantling of a political system of unique evil.
If we turn the late South African leader into a nonthreatening moral icon, we’ll forget a key lesson from his life: America isn’t always a force for freedom.
Now that he’s dead, and can cause no more trouble, Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington’s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy.In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan placed Mandela’s African National Congress on America’s official list of “terrorist” groups. In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution urging that he be released from jail.
281 Killed in CAR Violence
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As economy improves slightly.More
FREE, SORT OF
Gitmo Inmates Released to Algeria
They protested repatriation fearing reprisals.More
Bono: ‘The Man Who Couldn’t Cry’
Says Mandela influenced U2’s message.More
an icon lost
Obama: I Will Learn From Mandela
'He now belongs to the ages.'More
In the aftermath of Nelson Mandela's death, Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown describes the 'tragic dynamic' between Madiba and Winnie Mandela.
She is a true inspiration. Teenage activist Malala Yousafzai has released a video statement for the first time since being shot by the Taliban last October. 'God has given me this new life,' Malala says, and in return, she is launching the Malala Fund, created to help educate children all over the world.