Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Russians are Coming

A group of young men ransacked one of Moscow’s best known modern art galleries on Saturday, ripping paintings from walls and damaging equipment, its staff said.

The attack was launched on the Marat Gelman gallery a day after photograph montages it had displayed caricaturing the Russian and U.S. Presidents were seized by Russian customs at a Moscow airport.

But British gallery owner Matthew Cullern Bown said he believed they were unhappy about the satirical representation of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush in semi-naked poses along with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Reuters 10/21/2006

I have trouble imagining an attack on a gallery being anything other than an attack on the freedom of speech (does the new Russia even have that?). Recently, a prominent Russian journalist was assassinated after criticizing the Russian President – without any kind of serious follow-up investigation. Russia is not now nor ever been, a beacon of freedom and diplomacy. That said, I found it interesting that the images in dispute included Putin, BUSH and BIN LADEN. Would the same action have taken place if Putin had not been mocked? At times like this I recall one of El Presidente Bush’s famous slip-of-the-tongues:

“A dictatorship would be a lot easier." - Texas Governor George W. Bush, July 1998

"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
- President-elect George W. Bush, December 18, 2000

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it."
- President George W. Bush, July 26, 2001

Why would George W make this statement three times within three years? Is it that he thinks about it more often than the rest of us care to admit? Remember what buddies Putin and Bush were during Dubya’s 1st year in office? Now think about how far back Russia has stepped since the breakdown of the Soviet Union and the current administration of Putin. George nicknamed him “Pootie-Poot”. Bush irreverently named himself “Dubya” – yeah this guy’s a genius and the weirdness of the last six years is only eclipsed by humanity’s loss of freedoms. – DN

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