Tuesday, December 11

That teddy bear

It's a bit unfortunate when the biggest media wave of the year on Sudan - and probably all of East Africa - in a year with plenty of awful candidates - comes over jailing a teacher for picking a bad name for a stuffed animal. Two of the more interesting reactions I saw to the fiasco: Gerard Prunier, in Open Democracy, on just how crazy (a calculated crazy, he argues) the Khartoum government is, featuring some fascinating quotes; and Michelle Tsai in Slate, on what you can and can't name Mohammed (people good, animals real or stuffed bad), though I feel like she could have mined the topic for some more material.

As for other Western responses, there's the outraged Western liberal response, Anne Applebaum in Slate, for example. And the outraged/embarrassed Western Muslim response a la Ed Husain in The Observer. Some golden comments in this last one. I don't read Arabic so can't really speak to the response in Khartoum, though I didn't see much in the UN's monitoring reports of Sudanese media. Here's one of a handful of briefs from the government news agency in English.

Thankfully, the situation resolved itself reasonably quickly, so we can go back to reading about how the Sudanese government is still delaying a peacekeeping force for Darfur and still not turning over war crimes suspects to the International Criminal Court.

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