Solidarity

Today is International Human Solidarity Day. Oh yes.

That is certainly not front page news, and neither, sadly, is the human tragedy unfolding in the Côte d’Ivoire, a west African nation of some 21 million souls in which there is a vicious political power struggle underway between a suit with military backing vying for the country’s presidency with another suit who commands the support of the UN, neighbouring states and the west.

Meanwhile, as the incumbent Christian head of state and his Muslim challenger engage in battles of rhetoric, violence on the streets has claimed the lives of scores of citizens, and there are reports of men in military uniform abducting hundreds from their homes.

Is this a confessional conflict? Given the level of Christian paranoia at the prospect of a Muslim ‘takeover’ of the country, it would seem so.

So, solidarity. Yes. Jolly good. For what little it’s worth, perhaps today we could spare a thought for the suffering people of the Ivory Coast. Whatever their bloody religion.

And if, after considering the plight of our African brothers and sisters, we can summon any more sympathy for suffering humanity, how about a thought for the downtrodden people of Belarus, where the post-Soviet president and former collective farm director Alexander Lukashenko has reportedly secured a fourth term in office with a whopping “79.67%” of the vote. Popular guy, clearly, despite the 70s-style moustache and combover.

The next highest ranking candidate secured just 2.56% of the vote, and for his sins was dragged from hospital by government forces, where he was being treated for injuries sustained in street clashes with Lukashenko’s goons. Vladimir Neklyaev’s current whereabouts are unknown.