That’s So Funny I Forgot to Laugh

In the middle of a New York Times story on corruption in the World Food Program’s aid to Somalia, there’s this gem:

“We have to tell these folks that you cannot go on like this — we know what you are doing, you can’t fool us anymore, so you better stop,” said President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, who was at the United Nations, where his country holds the presidency of the Security Council this month.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, you say? Son of the recently deceased Omar Bongo, one of the most fabulously corrupt heads of state on a continent famous for fabulously corrupt heads of state? The Ali Bongo Ondimba who is following in his father’s illustrious footsteps in more ways than one?

That quote from Bongo is to cynicism what a black hole is to an ordinary sun: it punches a hole straight through the fabric of ordinary cynicism into a new realm of absurdism.

There are days where I think John Bolton may have had a point about the United Nations. As an institution, its operations often don’t stand markedly apart from the character of the state regimes which compose its membership, even when its rhetorical commitments might suggest otherwise.

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