Sunday, April 22, 2007

News Roundup for April 22

Syria is having "elections". The people have come out to "vote". Middle Eastern "democracy" in action.
Polling centers opened throughout Syria Sunday allowing voters to elect 250 new pro-regime Parliamentarians dominated by the ruling Baath Party amidst a declared boycott by the opposition.

According to Syrian law applied for more than three decades, the 12 million registered voters will have to elect 131 MPs from President Bashar Assad's Arab Socialist Baath Party, 83 "independent" MPs, who are usually businessmen affiliated with the ruling elite, and 36 MPs from leftist parties affiliated with the Baath in the so-called National Progressive Front (NPF).

Opposition parties are banned by Syrian law.
As Bashar says, "See, the people are free to choose in Syria.


Disgraced/disgraceful (take your pick) Israeli Arab MK Azmi Bishara, who is being investigated for criminal wrongdoing (details unavailable because of a court-ordered gag order) decided to resign from the Knesset today.
"Since the last elections, I have had an urge to resign,"
So why did you bother to run, Azmi?



Kyrgyzstan. Have you heard much about it? There may be a reason you haven't.
“Why does the United States promote football everywhere? Because through football they spread American values, the American way of life. Here it’s the same with kok-boru,” said Kemir Dyushekeyev, assistant director of Kyrgyzstan’s National Kok-Boru Federation.
Oh yeah, kok-boru. Sounds like fun.
The ancient Central Asian sport of kok-boru, in which horsemen wrestle over a headless goat, may not have caught on in the West, but here it’s a source of national pride - and a wildcard in national politics.
A "source of national pride - and a wildcard in national politics". For KYRGYZSTAN, that is.
Exactly what are the values spread by a sport where the ball is a gutted goat carcass with its head removed and legs cut off at the knees? “Strength, bravery, competition, and camaraderie. There can be no kok-boru without camaraderie,” Dyushekeyev said.
Or without a gutted, headless, limbless goat carcass, too.
At the start of the game, eight players on horseback race to get their hands on a goat carcass...which they usually haul up by one of its truncated limbs. They whip and punch each other for control of the goat, sometimes passing it to teammates, until one player breaks away and gallops across a 200-metre field to toss it into a stone ring.
That sounds like fun. Where can I get me one of those goat carcasses?
Play is supposed to stop if a fallen player is in danger of being trampled, but “there are serious injuries all the time”. Then there’s the whole goat carcass issue.
Ya think?
“Some foreigners may turn up and say, ‘It’s so cruel! Cutting up a goat to play with - how awful!’” tournament organiser Tabakriyev said, his tone showing minimal sympathy for animal rights activists. “But we accept life as it is. We look at it as a sacrifice,” he said.
Not nearly as much as the goat.
“This game didn’t start yesterday, it started 2,000-3,000 years ago. It’s in our blood to play, it’s in our genes,” said Bakyt Tabakriyev.
And that's what happens when the gene pool gets a little too stagnant.

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