The 'teddy bear named Muhammad' story gets more unbearable by the day.
Thankfully, the stand-off in Sudan--on whether it's proper to lash a school teacher 40 times or imprison her or both--is over. Kevin Sullivan, in the Washington Post, relays this uplifting news from a place that could use all the uplifting news it can get.
Gillian Gibbons was pardoned by the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, who shortened her sentence from 15 days to two weeks and there will be no lashes. Her crime: allowing a toy bear in her classroom to be given the name Muhammad.
The entire episode sparked conversations and comments worldwide. Among the comments were the following.
"This case has done quite a bit of damage to how the Sudanese government will be perceived; they have done their country no favors."
--Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, the county's largest Muslim organization. He called Gibbon's release "wonderful news."
Gibbons was part of a western plot against Islam.
--A leading group of Muslim clerics in Sudan
"...delighted and relieved"
--U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
"This is a case which is unfortunate, unintentional, innocent misunderstanding,"
--Nazir Ahmed, Muslim member of Britain's House of Lords
"I have been in Sudan for only four months, but I have enjoyed myself immensely."
--Gillian Gibbons, British schoolteacher
"There's no pic-a-nic baskets in Sudan, Boo Boo."
--Yogi Bear (through a spokesman)
Okay, the last one hasn't yet been verified.
Any hopeful comments from victims in the Darfur region of the country went unrecorded; but then, it's hard to organize one's thoughts while being gang-raped.
As Sullivan points out:
Western governments accuse Khartoum of backing violent militia groups that have killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced more than 2 million from their homes in one of the worst humanitarian crises in African history.Britain wasn't the only source of outrage over the affair.
Members of B.A.I.R. (Bruins Against Islamist References) protested Gibbons' light sentence.
“This is an insult to ALL bears everywhere” said T.D. Bear, spokesbruin for the group, adding, “We’re a species of peace and to associate us with this nonsense is very offensive."This last statement, once again, has not been verified.
"Bad enough that we're given human names, but this is an OUTRAGE and we demand satisfaction! Those guys just want to beat her to pieces; we feel she should be eaten."
"And, we'll clean up the mess".
Yogi Bear stated "It could be a regular pic-a nic, eh, Boo Boo?"
President Omar was most likely relieved to be done with the mess; after killing and maiming for years in a Mainstream Media vacuum, all of this unwanted attention over a school teacher had to have caught him by surprise.
BAIR's members may want to check out Darfur: they might find the militia thugs, who've preyed largely on unarmed civilians, to be good eating.
A group member, only identified as Pooh, growled approvingly.
"I hear they taste like chicken".
Washington Post - "Sudan's President Pardons British Teacher"
B.A.I.R. - Press release & interview
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.