gastronomic wars

Hong Kong to Ferguson: corporate police state

Student leaders Lester Shum and Joshua Wong were among 116 people detained late Nov. 26 as police cleared protest sites in Hong Kong's Mong Kok commercial district. Skirmishes between police and protesters broke out when a group refused to leave the site. (China Digital Times) The pepper spray used by Hong Kong police against the protesters (which won the movement its umbrella icon) was likely made by the Sabre company—its headquarters just oustide Ferguson, Mo., now exploding into protest over the failure of a grand jury to indict the police officer who killed Black youth Mike Brown. Sabre (slogan: "Making grown men cry since 1975") is owned by Security Equipment Corp of Fenton. Mo., and claims to be the world's top police supplier of pepper spray. Sabre supplies police forces from Hong Kong to Uruguay, as well as the St. Louis city and county. (Quartz) In appealing to the police to refrain from brutality, Hong Kong protesters have adopted the slogan from the Ferguson protest movement, "Hands up, don't shoot!" (Vox, Sept. 28)

Worldwide despots: Orwell still dangerous

George Orwell, and especially his dystopian novel 1984, has long been appropriated by neocons and (before that) Cold War hawks in the West. It's almost heartwarming to know that international despots still consider it dangerous. Seemingly oblivious to their own irony, police in Egypt last week arrested a 21-year-old student near the entrance of Cairo University for carrying a copy of 1984. It is unclear if the student, identified only as "Mohamed T," will face charges. The Egyptian Interior Ministry actually issued a statement explaining the arrest, innocently and not quite accurately saying that the novel "talks about military regimes which rule in corrupt countries." (The Week, UK, Nov. 10)

Evo Morales: Maya calendar portends end of Coca-Cola... and capitalism

The government of President Evo Morales announced July 17 that it will invite heads of state and indigenous leaders from around the world to Bolivia on Dec. 21, South America's summer solstice, believing that this day will mark "the end" of capitalism and Coca-Cola, and the beginning of a time "of love" and a "culture of life." Exterior Minister David Choquehuanca, who made the announcement, said the date was chosen because it marks the "end of the Maya calendar," and a ceremony will be held, to be presided over by Morales, on the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca. Choquehuanca elaborated: "December 21 of 2012 marks the end of egoism, of division. December 21 will be the end of Coca-Cola, and the beginning of mocochinchi." He added that on this day, "the planets will line up after 26,000 years," but rather than meaning the end of the world it will mean "the end of hatred and the beginning of love." (MinutoUno, Buenos Aires, July 17)

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