December 01, 2004

Weirder Than Libya

When you visit another country you meet other people who are also visiting the country. Inevitably you’ll discuss other places you’ve been. If you go to Costa Rica you’ll meet people who’ve been to Guatemala and Bolivia. Go to Cancun and you’ll meet people who like the Virgin Islands and Hawaii. Go to France and you’ll run into lots of people who talk about London, Prague, and Vienna.

So what happens when you bump into others in Libya? I met a photographer who spends every summer in Darfur. And I met a British guy named Felix who told me the next place he wants to go is North Korea. Shelly said she wants to go to North Korea, too. Felix grinned ear to ear. “It’s great to meet people who are open-minded about nuttiness,” he said.

My nutty “tourism” package is only a few days old. (I say “tourism” because although I went as a journalist, no one in Libya knew that.) I figured North Korea might be the only place left for me to go after Ghaddafi-stan. Well, no, not exactly. There is at least one more “tourism” package weirder than Libya but less freaky than North Korea. But I can’t go on this one because I am not fat.
ZIMBABWE has come up with a bizarre proposal to solve the food crisis threatening half its population with starvation. It wants to bring in obese tourists from overseas so that they can shed pounds doing manual labour on land seized from white farmers.

The so-called Obesity Tourism Strategy was reported last week in The Herald, a government organ whose contents are approved by President Robert Mugabe’s powerful information minister, Jonathan Moyo.

Pointing out that more than 1.2 billion people worldwide are officially deemed to be overweight, the article exhorted Zimbabweans to “tap this potential”.

“Tourists can provide labour for farms in the hope of shedding weight while enjoying the tourism experience,” it said, adding that Americans spent $6 billion a year on “useless” dieting aids.

“Tour organisers may promote this programme internationally and bring in tourists, while agriculturalists can employ the tourists as free farm labour.

“The tourists can then top it all by flaunting their slim bodies on a sun-downer cruise on the Zambezi or surveying the majestic Great Zimbabwe ruins.”

The notion that oversized, overpaid Americans could be enticed into paying to spend their holidays working free for those who seized the country’s commercial farms illustrates how far the Mugabe regime has descended into a fantasy world.
In the age of globalization, all the normal countries of the world increasingly resemble each other. But the whacked countries are all whacked in their own way. I’d think this was funny, but after wandering around the jagged-edged landscape of Tripoli I just think it’s sad.

(Hat tip: Sheila O'Malley.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 1, 2004 07:36 PM
Comments

It wants to bring in obese tourists from overseas so that they can shed pounds doing manual labour on land seized from white farmers.

Maybe not tourists, but how bout some idealistic young Kerry voters. They could shed pounds working for "the poooor".

Posted by: David at December 1, 2004 08:48 PM

Whoa, somehow a bunch of comments got deleted. I think my anti-spam software just had a seizure.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 1, 2004 10:35 PM

Truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction. I thought that this might be an Onion piece. When will Michael Moore sign up for the tour?

Posted by: David Thomson at December 2, 2004 02:13 AM

Michael:

Give Haiti a try. Its lovely this time of year. The cooler tempretures help to suprees the scent of trash and human waste in the street. I suggest you stay at the Hotel Oloffson. They have a charming pool inside the walled compound.

Signed,

Fellow Tunis Traveller

Posted by: Dragon Fly at December 2, 2004 05:10 AM

Are the Netherlands still considered normal now that they have legalized infanticide for the mentally ill (the Groningen Protocol)? Or are they now "wacked out" for adopting policies the Nazis would favor?

Or is this taboo around here because everyone is "pro-choice" and there is no rational difference in killing a newborn or a nine-month old baby in the womb?

Posted by: Winger at December 2, 2004 06:37 AM

Winger,

yeah it's pretty much taboo around here, just as it is anywhere polite society gathers.

Posted by: David at December 2, 2004 07:10 AM

This is the same regime where, when asked about dire food shortages in the oposition (MDC) dominated areas of Zimbabwe, a Zanu-PF thug... uh... statesman commented that there were too many people in the region anyway.

Posted by: Bill at December 2, 2004 07:18 AM

Truth really can be stranger than fiction. You just can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: John B at December 2, 2004 08:04 AM

"Maybe not tourists, but how bout some idealistic young Kerry voters. They could shed pounds working for "the poooor". "

Yowsers. why put "the poooor" in quotations? do you hear "idealistic young kerry voters talking about "the poooor" often? What's the ratio in your neighborhood of idealistic young Kerry supporters to, I suppose "pessimistic" "old" "Bush" supporters?

Personally, the chances of me paying good money to go over to hot ass africa in a craphole country and labor on gigantic farms, even if the outcome would be to feed the unfortunately governed people of Zimbabwe is slim to none. But I certainly don't have as much contempt for "the poooor" or those who empathize with them as you apparantly do.

P.P.S. Why are your comments, at least the ones here, always so condescending, defensive and shrill? Especially out of the blue when no one is even attacking you like your unfortunate comment in this thread? You don't have to fight the culture wars 24/7, it's ok to be civil and congenial every now and then.

Posted by: Epitome at December 2, 2004 11:19 AM

Epitome, I know what you are talking about. I hesitated to even check out the comments because the last time I did on a similar thread, it was so littered with comments of a flavor like "this only goes to prove the bankruptcy of the left."

Mugabe and his manifests are pretty clearly evidence of shamless opportunism in blind pursuit of power. it has little or nothing to do with any genuine political ideology of left vs. right. I know there are people here who use such opportunities to "prove" that liberals are wrong, and it's awful tiresome when anyone, liberal or conservative has such a reflexive chip on their shoulder that congenial discussion is not possible on any issue where there's the slightest disagreement.

I took special not today that Jonah Goldberg pointed out the following:

But one line of argument I find tiresome and entirely unthoughtful: When I say something conservatives or still-ebullient Republicans don't like it means I'm becoming liberal. More than a dozen readers have made this argument in wildly divergent forms. But the common theme to all of them seems to be if I'm wrong it must be because I'm liberal. I could offer a long response. Instead let me just say wrong and liberal are not synonymous terms. "Two plus two is five" isn't liberal.

Posted by: bk at December 2, 2004 12:41 PM

"I certainly don't have as much contempt for "the poooor" or those who empathize with them as you apparantly do. "

"P.P.S. Why are your comments, at least the ones here, always so condescending, defensive and shrill?"

Classic juxtaposition right there, Epitome.

Are David and Winger cranky asses? Yes. So is pretty much every liberal I come into contact with (which is pretty much everyone I meet-- I'm in one of the bluest of the blue counties). The difference is that the right can afford to alienate some people, since there are more of them then there are of you. After the events of the past month, I thought that folks like you would maybe start spending less time telling each other about how much your opponents hate the poor (or gays, Muslims, etc.) and more time giving serious thought to why you're alienating so many folks like Michael and myself who should be unambiguously on your side. It starting to look like I was wrong. Hell, I suppose I can settle for Chuck Hagel....

Posted by: Townleybomb at December 2, 2004 01:56 PM

You don't have to fight the culture wars 24/7, it's ok to be civil and congenial every now and then.

Epitome,

it's comical to be lectured on "civility" by a Lib.

Having said that, I treat individual posters on this blog with equal if not more civility than average. When I do cross the line, I'm not afraid to apologize, which is a favor I rarely get in return.

I don't have contempt for the poor. My contempt is directed at the self-congratulatory Left and their worn out appeals to "idealism" and "the poooor". It borders on parody. So I indulged myself. Did it strike a little nerve?

You don't have to fight the culture wars 24/7, it's ok to be civil and congenial every now and then.

Actually, yes I do. It's a non-stop war. The Losercrats have made that abundantly clear even since 11/3.

Posted by: David at December 2, 2004 02:48 PM

double,

that wasn't very civil now was it.

Posted by: David at December 2, 2004 03:37 PM

double,

I can, and do take it, regularly.

Posted by: David at December 2, 2004 03:52 PM

Townleybomb,

"Classic juxtaposition right there, Epitome."

You seem to be implying that I committed some sort of contradictory error. It was a legitimate response and reasonable inference derived from David's baiting remark.

"Are David and Winger cranky asses? Yes. So is pretty much every liberal I come into contact with (which is pretty much everyone I meet-- I'm in one of the bluest of the blue counties)."

That's unfortunate but it's not David's political affiliation I'm taking issue with. I live in a very red county and have several conservative, fiercely partisan friends, none of which I would describe as 'cranky asses' or whose argumentative or rhetorical styles I would compare to David's. It's the constantly condescending, baiting nature of his posts. If this was Freerepublic, I wouldn't give his posts a second thought since that nature of posting is fairly common there. But it sticks out on a mixed website like Totten's so I'm inquiring.


"The difference is that the right can afford to alienate some people, since there are more of them then there are of you."

Like I said, this isn't about strategy or partisanship. It's about civility and conduct. The argument that said conduct by David is justifiable, since his political beliefs conform with the majority or the country is lost on me.

"After the events of the past month, I thought that folks like you would maybe start spending less time telling each other about how much your opponents hate the poor (or gays, Muslims, etc.) and more time giving serious thought to why you're alienating so many folks like Michael and myself who should be unambiguously on your side."

You've completely lost me on this one. See above. And while a respect your sincerity and empathize with you, this caricature you've painted doesen't apply to me I promise you.

Posted by: Epitome at December 2, 2004 05:46 PM

Africa just continues to get wierder and wierder.

That does sound like something the Onion would come up with...but its not. Its real.

Is it just because he's going old and batty? (Mugabe that is). And now, it seems that everyone is going to look for Zimbabwe to become another humanitarian crisis that the rest of the world will be asked to help out with.

Posted by: Eric Blair at December 2, 2004 05:49 PM

"Epitome,

it's comical to be lectured on "civility" by a Lib."

well, it's apparant you need a lecture from somebody(maybe your pastor?). Especially since you couldn't write a whole sentence with out condesendingly referring to me as a "Lib".

"Having said that, I treat individual posters on this blog with equal if not more civility than average."

Excuse the predictable sequence, but if that's so then you must have the ability to be a real toad in person.

"When I do cross the line, I'm not afraid to apologize, which is a favor I rarely get in return."

Fair enough. I apologize and won't bring up the issue again regardless of what I think of you.

"I don't have contempt for the poor. My contempt is directed at the self-congratulatory Left and their worn out appeals to "idealism" and "the poooor". It borders on parody. So I indulged myself. Did it strike a little nerve?"

I know who your target is. No one could mistake who your never ending wrath is directed towards. But your out of the blue lib-dem baiting post with no context to the original discussion, combined with your desire to extend the partisan/culture war to every facet of innocent discussion imaginable aroused my curiousity to ask "what gives?"

Btw, Lib-Dem rhetoric about the 'poor' is so last century. The new bag is the 'shrinking middle class' who are being 'squeezed' get with the program ;)

"Actually, yes I do. It's a non-stop war. The Losercrats have made that abundantly clear even since 11/3."

Not as clear as you've made it.

Posted by: Epitome at December 2, 2004 05:59 PM

come come now Epitome. You don't have to put on the babe in the woods act with me. We both know this is a political blog, and on political blogs we take shots at the other guys. I didn't single you, nor anybody, out for special attention and I didn't assassinate anybody's character nor expose them to ridicule. Stop acting as if I did. If you don't like me that's fine, but I hardly have that much to apologize for this one time. As you stated, you know who my target was, yet you insinuated in your response that it was the poor, so maybe it's you who owes somebody an apology.

Posted by: David at December 2, 2004 06:38 PM

My anti-spam software just deleted some comments. It went on another bender, but I caught it before it cleared out this entire thread. Sorry. I'll be more careful with it, and just wanted to say I'm not 86-ing anyone on purpose here...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 2, 2004 09:25 PM

I am a cranky ass for wondering what some of you thought about the Netherlands killing small children?

Posted by: Winger at December 3, 2004 07:48 AM

Have you heard the wackiness that's going on in Turkmenistan?

There, the president is renaming the months of the year after himself, his mother, and whoever else wanders by...

Posted by: Barry at December 3, 2004 10:36 AM

This was a cartoon in Suck. Don't remember if it was Havrilevky or one of the other writers.

Posted by: Floyd McWilliams at December 5, 2004 11:06 PM

Too bad you couldn't snap a pic of the Colonels' elusive spawn Mutassim 'Hannibal' Gaddafi, international drunk & layabout. I've only ever found one pic of him, perhaps because he travels with a phalanx of bad-tempered stormtroopers

Posted by: jeff at December 7, 2004 10:43 PM

In an organization, each person rises to the level of his own
incompetency
-- The Peter Principle
Payday Loan http://www.epaycash.com

Posted by: Payday Loan at December 16, 2004 06:47 AM

Police: Good evening, are you the host?
Host: No.
Police: We've been getting complaints about this party.
Host: About the drugs?
Police: No.
Host: About the guns, then? Is somebody complaining about the guns?
Police: No, the noise.
Host: Oh, the noise. Well that makes sense because there are no guns
or drugs here. (An enormous explosion is heard in the
background.) Or fireworks. Who's complaining about the noise?
The neighbors?
Police: No, the neighbors fled inland hours ago. Most of the recent
complaints have come from Pittsburgh. Do you think you could
ask the host to quiet things down?
Host: No Problem. (At this point, a Volkswagon bug with primitive
religious symbols drawn on the doors emerges from the living
room and roars down the hall, past the police and onto the
lawn, where it smashes into a tree. Eight guests tumble out
onto the grass, moaning.) See? Things are starting to wind
down.
Payday Loans http://www.paylesspaydayloans.com

Posted by: Payday Loans at December 17, 2004 06:02 AM

Mike, honestly I think you need to stop hating on other countries and open up your eyes on being more positive and respectful of other people's culture. I read your article on Libya and let me tell you, you can make a postive story out of the same pictures you had posted. Ive been there and I think the country possesses many amazing sites. Granted there is ghetto areas, but I can visit the ghetto's of the US and make up the same kind of disrespectful comments made in your article...Only problem, your rude comments dont end with Libya, you have commented on other nations with the same kind of disrespect. Maybe you need to realize that "making fun" of other people's culture and pride is wrong and try to focus more on respecting it. Afterall, I dont think you would like it if I decided to insult your heritage...or would you?

Posted by: Samar at February 23, 2005 04:48 PM

canada dating free in sitecanada dating free sitecanadian dating free online sitecanadian dating sitecanadian dating site freecanadian dating web sitecanadian online dating sitecatholic dating sitecatholic dating web sitechicago adult personalscincinnati adult personalscolorado adult personalscompletely free adult personalsconnecticut adult personalsdallas adult personalsdating sex match personalsdenver adult personalsdiscreet adult personalsdominant personals womanerotic adult personalsexcite adult personalsdallas dating speeddating minnesota speedboston dating speedatlanta dating speeddating francisco san speeddating speed tipchristian dating speeddating east midlands services speeddating houston speeddating minneapolis speeddating gay speeddating edmonton speedloss safe weightloss simply weightloss spa weightloss story success weightloss story weightloss success weightloss supplement weightloss support weightloss surgery weightloss system weightloss teen weightloss tip weightloss topamax weightloss vitamin weightblack dating free siteblack dating free site webblack dating gay siteblack dating online siteblack dating siteblack dating site webblack dating site womanblack dating web siteblack singles dating free siteblack woman white man dating sitebuild a website dating siteatlanta adult personalsaustin adult personalsaustralia adult personalsaustralian adult personalsbay area adult personalsbbw adult personalsbdsm christian personalsbest adult personalsblack adult personalsboston adult personalsbrisbane adult personalsbrowse adult personalscalgary adult personalscalifornia adult personalscanada adult personalscanadian adult personalsdating new speed yorkchicago dating speeddating seattle speeddating speed torontodating speed ukdating london speeddating nyc speedangeles dating los speeddating island long speeddating ny speeddating single speedcalgary dating speeddating location speedactivity dating speeddating diego san speedasian dating speeddating speed vancouverdating indianapolis speedloss pill weightloss plan weightloss plan weight wendiloss plan weight wendieloss plan weight workoutloss plastic surgery weightloss plateau weightblowjob sex moviesblowjob wmv moviesblowjob xxx moviesdaily blowjob movies

Posted by: fd at May 5, 2005 08:44 AM

lovely photos certainly insightful !!
Rachat credit Annuaire

Posted by: kevin at May 26, 2005 02:39 AM
cool blog - thanks for the service

online casino

Posted by: casino at June 28, 2005 01:36 AM

19 latki zaspokajanie lezby @ 19 latki zaspokajanie na zywo @ 19 latki zaspokajanie nietrzezwe @ 19 latki zaspokajanie niewolnice sexualne @ 19 latki zaspokajanie od tylu @ 19 latki zaspokajanie odurzone @ 19 latki zaspokajanie ostro @ 19 latki zaspokajanie ostry @ 19 latki zaspokajanie pieniadze @ 19 latki zaspokajanie pijane @ 19 latki zaspokajanie pizda @ 19 latki zaspokajanie pizdy @ 19 latki zaspokajanie podryw @ 19 latki zaspokajanie podrywacze @ 19 latki zaspokajanie podwiazki @ 19 latki zaspokajanie podwojnie @ 19 latki zaspokajanie przerosniete @ 19 latki zaspokajanie przystojne @ 19 latki zaspokajanie przystojny @ 19 latki zaspokajanie rajstopy @ 19 latki zaspokajanie rozjebane @ 19 latki zaspokajanie siksy @ 19 latki zaspokajanie szybko @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w 2 osoby @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w cipe @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w cipke @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w dupe @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w dziurke @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w kakao @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w pupe @ 19 latki zaspokajanie w szparke @ 19 latki zaspokajanie we dwoje @ 19 latki zaspokajanie wyrosniete @ 19 latki zaspokajanie za forse @ 19 latki zaspokajanie za kase @ 19 latki zaspokajanie za pieniadze @ 19 latki zaspokajanie zgabnie @ 19 latki zaspokajanie zgrabne @ 19 latki zgabnie @ 19 latki zgejone @ 19 latki zgejone 2 pary @ 19 latki zgejone 2pary @ 19 latki zgejone brutalnie @ 19 latki zgejone cycate @ 19 latki zgejone darmo @ 19 latki zgejone doswiadczone @ 19 latki zgejone fetysz @ 19 latki zgejone fetyszystki @ 19 latki zgejone forsa @ 19 latki zgejone free

Posted by: Matti at July 4, 2005 08:26 AM

Greetings From NY !

Posted by: casinos at July 6, 2005 11:04 AM

nls
psyche
odszkodowania
opc

Posted by: at September 15, 2005 02:09 AM

Must take more than i have. I could not see going to the countries that you can disappear so fast never to be seen again. But some of it looks nice but i will not be going to any of them anytime soon.

Casino. Online Casinos.
Chinese internet casino
Arabic Casino
Swedish Casino
Chinese Casino
Danish Casino
Portugese casino
Dutch Casino
Italian casino.
Greek Casino
Korean Casino.
Spanish Casino
French Casino
German Casino.
Japanese casino
Casino. Online Casinos.

Posted by: matt at September 27, 2005 04:59 AM

Who pays for it. What stories are you getting or is it just you not some report that you have to do.

I like the fact you show how certain groups travel in same circles so True.

Posted by: frank at September 27, 2005 05:03 AM

Great site. Seemed to enjoy it over thier i would have been to nervous but looks nice in some areas.

Posted by: angelena jolie at September 27, 2005 07:52 AM

Hi I have been given the task of getting links for our websites thathave good page rank on the links directories.In addition we have many categories so your site will be place on an appropriate page. If you would like to trade links please send me your website details.Best Regards,seopro@walla.com
http://www2w.bravehost.com vs the best casino http://casino.vmedical.us new online casino
casinos
casino
online poker
online gambling
online casinos
online casinos
online casinos
online poker
online casinos
online casino
casino
poker
casino
casino
casinos
online casino
online gambling
casino
poker
neteller casinos
online casino
online poker
online casino
internet poker
free online poker
texas holdem poker
poker
online slots
online roulette
online blackjack
poker
online casinos
online casino
online casino

Posted by: online casinos at October 6, 2005 04:10 AM

freetimes
jidds
fabrykapoe
sfworks

Posted by: artse at December 23, 2005 03:07 AM

Michael, you make it awefully difficult not to become prejudice again all United States citizens. You really seem to be not only full of yourself, like too many Americans, (ugly, foolish, man that you are) but needlessly cruel and rude. Do you not have a mother? Did your parents teach you nothing? Who died and made YOU God?! I'm betting your shit smells the same, if not worse, than any of the people you put down! Do you not know that each human feels pain the same way? That each person needs the same basic things to survive? That you are no better than any other living soul? That you are just more fortunate/luckier to be born where you were? (or NOT! I think I'd rather be rotting in Libya than be your obviously tourmented soul living in the States!) God help you!!!

Posted by: Mocha Frappe at January 22, 2006 03:32 AM

That's no Old women in your 16th pic it's a pic of a Man wearing a Jarad.
Wow.... how can you miss that, cant even distinguish between a Man in traditional clothes and a women.
No wonder many of your comments are out of context.

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/000641.html

Posted by: Maghur at June 15, 2007 02:07 AM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn