Open thread—Some international Friday news

Open thread—Some international Friday news

We focus so much on our own travails, that we often ignore happenings around the world. So for today’s open thread, a few highlights from the BBC News website, my go-to one-stop shop for international news.

Sudan and Algeria: A new Arab Spring?

In both Sudan and Algeria, protests continue against authoritarian systems.

Even I, news maven that I am, had no idea about the Sudan protests. All the oxygen was being consumed by what was happening in Algeria.

The strongmen ruling each country have been ousted by their militaries, which is the problem. The military in each state worked hand in glove with the ruling cliques, so they’re not seen as impartial guardians of the republics. The protests continue to tear out the systems, not just the heads.

Is this a new Arab Spring? I doubt it. The issues are local: the economy, corruption, lack of freedom. As we saw in 2011, revolutions can soon eat themselves. However, the fact that these protests have been mostly peaceful, and the security services are holding back from firing on their own people, gives one hope, at least for the citizens of those two countries, if not for the entire region.

Will Julian Assange finally receive his comeuppance?

In the schadenfreude of Julian Assange’s arrest yesterday, we may have forgotten why he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in the first place.

Sweden had issued an arrest warrant for his role in the rape of a Swedish woman. Thinking this was some nefarious plot by the notoriously neutral Swedes to hand him over to the CIA, he skittered away into eight years of living in a basement.

Now Sweden is looking at reopening the case. The statute of limitations runs out in 2020. The case was never dropped, but being unable to actually apprehend the suspect put it into suspension. The most just result of this farce would be for Assange to face the charges which set this whole chain of events in motion.

And yes, to the BBC, American news is international news

And finally, Georgetown University students have approved slavery reparations funding. This is a fund to repay descendants of slaves sold by the school in 1838.

The hyperbole around reparations can be enervating. You have hoteps wanting trillions of dollars, and you have white racists saying that blacks should be on their knees thanking God that their ancestors were rescued from the jungles of Africa.

Of course, the answer, as usual, lies in the middle. The form of the reparations, the amount of them, all of that are up for debate. But what shouldn’t be up for debate is that this country participated in a moral evil, and some form of recompense is incumbent upon us. Japanese internees were compensated. What excuse can be given for not compensating descendants of slaves?

OK, that’s it from Lake Woebegone. Have a great Friday, everyone.



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