Sinking into barbarism

PROTESTS: Stand up for your rights.

‘AMERICANS are the only race which passed directly from barbarism to decadence without knowing civilization.’ This observation is generally attributed to the French newspaper La Liberté which published it in1932.

Now it appears that the US is sinking back into barbarism, a process that started in earnest when the narcissistic lunatic Trump strode into the White House in 2016 to began an assault on liberal values. Since then America’s lurch to the far-right has produced a plethora of disturbing headlines, such as the one that appeared at at the beginning of April in the the Independent: ‘Death sentence for women: Alabama proposes law to make abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison.’

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It appeared beneath a report that revealed that Alabama lawmakers have proposed a law that would make an abortion at any stage of a pregnancy punishable by 10 to 99 years in jail.

Coverage of this outrageous attack on women’s reproductive rights was unfortunately eclipsed by reports of barbarism of a different sort in the southeast Asian kingdom of Brunei, which this month faced an international backlash against new laws that make homosexuality and adultery a crime punishable by death by stoning.

In London on April 6 demonstrators barricaded the entrance to London’s famous Dorchester Hotel, owned by Brunei’s ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 73, and heard Labour MP Emily Thornbury speaking out against the new Islamic-based legislation introduced by this ostentatious little tinpot dictator, who was once knighted by the Queen. He also owns the Royal family’s jeweler, Asprey’s, which he bought in 1995 for £350 million.

Now I have to confess that I knew very little Brunei until the new laws were introduced, so I did some research and discovered that Bolkiah’s knighthood had something to do with the fact that Brunei was once a British colony and is now a member of the Commonwealth.

I also learned that Bolkiah reportedly has a gay son, Prince Abdul Azim. After news broke of the introduction of Brunei’s despicable new laws, American blogger, columnist and media personality, Perez Hilton said in a YouTube video: “Y’all know I don’t out people anymore. I used to do that back in the day but I’m making an exception here. I’m guessing the Sultan of Brunei doesn’t know that his son, Prince Azim, is a big old homo. I would know because I have spent time with Prince Azim. It’s so hypocritical. This guy’s son is a big flamer, and now he’s enacted a law to stone to death gay men.’

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, with whom I have been on many protests, added: ‘We are urging countries worldwide to suspend diplomatic, economic and military relations with Brunei and to threaten boycotts, sanctions and disinvestments if these extremist Sharia punishments are not revoked.

‘The UK royal family must stop hosting the Sultan and cut all ties with his despotic regime. Brunei should be suspended from the Commonwealth. These draconian laws violate the Commonwealth Charter, which Brunei has agreed to uphold.’

I wholeheartedly agree, but would add that libertarians should not lose sight of the fact that human rights abuses are taking place right under our noses in so-called liberal democracies like the US. These also need to be exposed and vigorously condemned.


  1. It’s been pointed out to me that I mistakenly wrote that the London jewelers Asprey had been bought by the Sultan of Brunei. It was actually bought by his brother, who then sold it five years ago. So, by all means, boycott the sultan’s other establishments, but feel free to splash out your cash at Asprey in good conscience.

    • Excellent article Barry – full of your usual insight and first-rate analysis. Full marks also for posting your own correction to part of it after someone brought it to your attention. I can’t help contrasting that with one particular columnist in this newspaper who never corrects himself – no matter how many mistakes are brought to HIS attention. (grin)


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