Harper’s Weekly Review–the world is cracked

On the sixth anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s fall from power, tens of thousands of Iraqis loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protested the continued U.S. occupation. “When America came, they didn’t do anything for Iraq,” said one protester. “This is not democracy.” In Moldova, thousands of young people, angry over the parliamentary victory of the Communist Party in recent elections, destroyed government buildings and clashed with police in a protest organized using Twitter and Facebook. “If it would have been planned in advance,” said one Moldovan, “they would have used Molotov cocktails.” Protesters in Tbilisi demanded the resignation of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, and in cities across the United States, people dressed in Boston Tea Party-themed costumes to protest President Barack Obama’s economic policies. Bolivian President Evo Morales began a hunger strike that he plans to continue until his nation’s congress passes a new election law that will increase the number of seats in the indigenous regions of the country where he is popular. The president of Fiji revoked the constitution and abolished the judiciary. Anti-government protests in Thailand forced Asian leaders from sixteen nations, who had gathered for an economic summit, to be evacuated by helicopter, and in North Korea Kim Jong Il was unanimously elected to a third term. A swarm of bees invaded the White House lawn. For the first time in eighteen years, television networks broadcast images of the coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in
combat. Britain’s top antiterrorism official was forced to resign after reporters photographed him holding confidential documents that detailed covert operations. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles refused to permit a vegan woman to put ILVTOFU on a vanity license plate. “We don’t allow ‘FU’,” explained a Department of Revenue spokesperson, “because some people could read that as street language for sex.” A Virginia teenager was suspended from school for two weeks and recommended for expulsion after she was caught taking a birth-control pill. In Canada, a father who was sued by his twelve-year-old daughter after he grounded her and refused to let her go on a class trip lost his appeal to reinstate the grounding. “The trip was very important to
her,” said the girl’s lawyer. A New York judge refused to give a former police officer his job back after he tested positive for cocaine, which he says he accidentally ingested via oral sex. The Obama Administration announced plans to appeal a court decision that gives some military prisoners in Afghanistan the right to sue for their release, and a jury of two men, three women, and the studio audience of the Dutch television show Devil’s Advocate determined that Osama Bin Laden was not guilty of the attacks on the World Trade Center. After months of speculation, the White House announced the selection of the First Dog, a Portuguese water dog named Bo.

The BBC uncovered documents revealing that American commanders during World War II reorganized the forces that liberated Paris in 1944 so that no black soldiers would participate. “It is more desirable that the division mentioned above consist of white personnel,” said the U.S. Army’s chief of staff in a secret memo. Dave Arneson, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died. A man in Florida safely landed a plane after the pilot died mid-flight, and U.S. Navy Seals successfully rescued a container-ship captain who had been captured by Somali pirates, killing three pirates in the process. “We will take quick revenge on American ships if we don’t receive apologies,” said one pirate commander. An Illinois teenager robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts but came back the next day, returned the money, and apologized. As part of a plan to pay back investors who lost money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Madoff’s opening-day Mets tickets were sold on eBay for $7,500. The Fox television network announced plans for a new reality show in which employees at real companies will be given the ability to lay off co-workers. “It’s safe to say,” said one of the show’s producers, “it hasn’t been difficult to find companies willing to participate.” A man in Poland bit off his friend’s penis during an argument over a borrowed trailer. During an Easter-egg hunt in Austria, a 13-year-old girl severed her hand in an animal trap that had been baited with eggs.

An Israeli Arab hotel food manager named Jaaber Hussein signed an agreement with Israel’s chief rabbis to become the temporary owner of all the leavened bread of Israel, and according to participants in the Jewish celebration of Birchas Hachama, the sun returned to the position it held in the Book of Genesis on the fourth day of creation, when God created light.

– Genevieve Smith

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