Sunday, August 26, 2007

They have no knowledge of what reconciliation means

Australia is to start testing applicants for citizenship on various aspects of Australian culture, history, such as who the first prime minister was (Ned Kelly? Joseph Boomerang, inventor of the boomerang?), the opening line of the national anthem (“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong”) (or possibly: “Skippy. Skippy. Skippy the bush kangaroo. Skippy. Skippy. Skippy your friend ever true...”), and Australian values, such as “mateship and a fair go.”

(Update: more questions: How are members of Parliament chosen? Drinking contests. What is the floral emblem of Australia? Okay, I think we all know this one: “This here’s the wattle, the symbol of our land. You can stick it in a bottle, you can hold it in your hand. Amen!”)

Speaking of mateship and a fair go, Maliki has responded angrily (although rather belatedly) to the calls of Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton for him to be replaced. “They should come to their senses,” he said, adding, “When they give their judgment they have no knowledge of what reconciliation means.” Dude, if there’s anyone who knows what reconciliation means, it’s Bill Clinton’s wife.

Key fact in NYT article about the rise in the number of Iraqis held in American detention: 85% of them are Sunni. In his press conference, Maliki also complained about detentions – of Shiites, not Sunnis, of course – during recent American operations in Shiite sections of Baghdad. “We will not allow the detaining of innocent people,” he said. He also had this constructive criticism of the American military: “When they want to detain one person, they should not kill 10 others.” Oh, now he tells us.

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