Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Going back in time

The Washington Post headline sounds like it was ripped from the pages of 1914: Whip-wielding Russian Cossacks attack But, no, today in Sochi.
The text is overrestrained: "The Cossacks roughly pulled off the masks and flicked their whips at the group." The accompanying video shows something more than "flicking." It was a beating. But it's the 21st century, so they didn't ride down the unarmed women on horses or beat them with the flat of their swords. Just a reminder, I guess, that the peasants really were revolting. When I read the numerous screeds of the rightwingers about communism, they seem to forget that. This op-ed in today's New York Times about Bahrain puts a curious spin on the problem of trying to move toward popular self-government in traditional societies. Russia suggests it cannot be done in under a hundred years.

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