Some Dumb Things World Politicians Said In 2015
King Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulu
The King of the Zulu is an important political figure in South Africa, a relatively prosperous country that people from all over Africa and even the Middle East try to move to. In March of this year the King told a "Moral Regeneration" gathering "We urge all foreigners to pack their bags and leave."
There was immediately a wave of violent attacks by Zulus on immigrants. So far, so normal, really; this is a common occurrence in South Africa. Some tried to lay the crime wave at the feet of the king, but he denied that it had anything to do with his words. He claimed that he had been misunderstood, particularly because he'd been speaking in isiZulu. Pressured to clarify his remarks, he addressed the issue a month later at a stadium speech in front of thousands.
“The people who listened to my speech at Pongola have not killed anyone, or committed any crimes. What has been said about me is not true. I need to clarify what I said, because the media has misrepresented me.”
In a nutshell, I had nothing to do with the fact that many immigrants were beaten and some killed. But...
"If I indeed had called for violence, then this country would burn to ashes."
So, really, people don't respond to my words with violence, but if I wanted violence, I'd use my words.
Cardinal Francis. You might have heard of him. He's a pope.
When the BBC asked about a certain video of Pope Francis made in May of this year but broadcast five months later, a Vatican spokesman said "We know about the video, but we'd prefer not to comment." The video in question? One in which the pope lectures Chilean lay officers of the Catholic church, which had reported on the reactions in the Chilean city of Osorno over a regional sexual abuse scandal in the church. The officers had said that the church in Osorno was "praying and suffering for you", to which the mighty cardinal responded:
"You're right, Osorno is suffering, because they're dumb (tonto)."
As if that hadn't been enough, he added, "Think with your heads and don't let the lefties lead you around by the nose." At least this demolishes the idea that this pope is a lefty himself! The response of the Chileans he lectured? "Thank you for your patience." Video here.
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
In November of this year Canada's Justin Trudeau busted out a gem of obfuscaspeech. Trudeau is the most beautiful head of state we have ever seen. I mean, don't you just want to oil up his abs and musically rub your fingers up and down that buttered-up politically correct stomach to the tune of The Bold Canadian? I know I do.
“It is clear that the way forward for Canada will be in a solution that resembles Canada, that is shared values and shared desires for outcomes and different approaches to achieve those outcomes right across this great country.”
The Good Colonel Brian Tribus, U.S. Army
This guy counts as a politician because he's a spokesman for the Army, and spokesmen are as political an animal as ever existed. When the New York Times broke a story claiming that U.S. soldiers were subject to a policy of not reporting systemic child rape by Afghan security forces, an email he wrote explaining the situation to the Times was quoted. The army later tried to back off what he said. 'Cause, you know, people didn't like what he said.
“Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law.”
“...there would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.”
Unless rape was being used as a tool of war. Then they'd have to say something.
Dilma Roussef, President of Brazil
In July of 2015 Brazilian prez Dilma uttered a sequence of words that were so ridiculous they immediately became the subject of a million memes, and even entered into the everyday parlance of this country of 200 million.
|"How many shall we drink?"|
While giving a speech on the potential of an educational initiative, she said:
"We're not going to set a target. We're going to leave the target open, but, when we hit that target, we're going to double that target."
Now in Brazil if you ask how much food to bring to a party, or how many beers the group will drink, or how many people to invite, or how much you'll need of anything, really, the Brazilian will say, "we're not going to set a target" with a snicker. And he might add "when we hit the target, we're gonna double the target."
Goh Chok Tong, former Prime Minister and "Senior Minister Emeritus" in Singapore
They made up a new political position for this guy when he retired from his elected post, just so he could say:
“We are our own check. The integrity of our leaders, of our MPs. That’s where the check comes from. … not this seductive lie of check and balance.”
A fundamental precept of democratic republics is a "seductive lie". Nice. What is Singapore's form of government, you ask? It's a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. Emphasis on unitary, apparently.