By Hyacinth Mascarenhas
Modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving.”
Naming Uruguay the country of the year in 2013, the Economist may very well have described the rising nation’s head of state, President José “Pepe” Mujica.
Known for his unusual frankness, fiery oration and bold leadership to turn ideas into action, the 78-year-old leader possesses and practices the very characteristics that many world leaders fail to emulate. He has also garnered international acclaim for his progressive policies, down-to-earth personality and simplepresentation, which has earned him a reputation as “the world’s poorest president.”
Living in a small, one-bedroom farm with his wife, Sen. Lucia Toplansky, and a number of dogs (including three-legged Manuela), Mujica donates 90% of his salary to charity, leads by example in an age of austerity and has gained international acclaim for pushing ahead with policies on cannabis legalisation, same-sex marriage and abortion, while decrying excessive consumption.
Mujica practices the simplicity he preaches. Here are some of our favorite quotes by the one-of-a-kind president with a powerful message:
1. On revolutions and revolts
“I’ve seen some springs that ended up being terrible winters. We human beings are gregarious. We can’t live alone. For our lives to be possible, we depend on society. It’s one thing to overturn a government or block the streets. But it’s a different matter altogether to create and build a better society, one that needs organization, discipline and long-term work. Let’s not confuse the two of them. I want to make it clear: I feel sympathetic with that youthful energy, but I think it’s not going anywhere if it doesn’t become more mature.” (Source)
2. On legalizing marijuana
When asked about opposition to legalizing marijuana, he said:
“It has always been like that with changes. In 1913, we established divorce as a right for women in Uruguay. You know what they were saying back then? That families would dissolve. That it was the end of good manners and society. There has always been a conservative and traditional opinion out there that’s afraid of change. When I was young and would go dancing at balls, we’d have to wear suits and ties. Otherwise they wouldn’t let us in. I don’t think anyone dresses up for dancing parties nowadays.”
3. On materialism
“We have sacrificed the old immaterial gods, and now we are occupying the temple of the Market-God. He organizes our economy, our politics, our habits, our lives, and even provides us with rates and credit cards and gives us the appearance of happiness.
“It seems that we have been born only to consume and to consume, and when we can no longer consume, we have a feeling of frustration, and we suffer from poverty, and we are auto-marginalized.” (Source)
Continue reading 15 Powerful Quotes From the World’s Most Humble President
Trinamool Leader’s Shocker: ‘Will Ask My Boys to Go and Rape CPM Women
Reported by Monideepa Banerjie, Edited by Prasad Sanyal
Kolkata: Tapas Pal, popular Bengali actor and a member of Parliament from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has been caught on camera purportedly saying, “I will ask our boys to go and rape CPM women if necessary.”
The footage aired by local TV channels is hazy, but Mr Pal is clearly heard making the shocking threat while addressing party workers and assuring them that members of other parties will not be allowed to harm them. He also allegedly makes other threats.
Read more » NDTV
KARACHI: In a meeting with an American diplomat in July 2009, ANP leader Senator Afrasiab Khattak claimed that the Haqqani network, a militant group the US holds responsible for multiple attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan, was being protected by the Pakistan military.
The report is one of a number of American diplomatic cables obtained by Dawn that reveal a deep mistrust among the leadership of the ANP, the party responsible for governance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about the military’s intentions regarding various militant groups in KP and FATA.
“Khattak described the Pakistani military as treating the Haqqanis ‘separately’ … from other militants,” reported Lynne Tracy, the Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Peshawar. “The Haqqani family, [Khattak] observed, has already moved out of North Waziristan.
Read more » DAWN
Huge Crowds Turn Out for Hong Kong Pro-Democracy March
In what may be the biggest demonstration in a decade, hundreds of thousands of people marched in Hong Kong to demand greater democracy.
HONG KONG — Hundreds of thousands of people held one of the largest marches in Hong Kong’s history on Tuesday to demand greater democracy, defying intermittent tropical downpours and Beijing’s dwindling tolerance for challenges to its control.
A nearly solid river of protesters — most of them young — poured out of Victoria Park through the afternoon and into the evening, heading for the heart of the city. The sea of protesters showed their determination by waiting unflinchingly and with barely a complaint for hours under a succession of deluges just for their chance to walk through the skyscraper-lined canyons of downtown Hong Kong, carrying banners calling for the introduction of full democracy and “Say No to Communist China.”
Read more » The New York Times
Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater
JUNE 29, 2014
WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guardsfatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.
After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”
Read more » The New York Times