Turkish rally a positive sign, preelection prep a good move, Thai government best of bad choices, safety measures needed near water, world ignoring Yemen

A roundup of global commentary for the Aug. 29, 2016 weekly magazine.


Jorge Silva/Reuters
A street vendor walks past a polling station during a constitutional referendum vote in Bangkok, Thailand.

Hurriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish rally a positive sign

“The colossal anti-coup rally that took place ... Aug. 7, in Istanbul, and was joined by large crowds in many other cities, was truly remarkable...,” writes Mustafa Akyol. “[T]he failed coup attempt of July 15 was an attack on the whole democratic system, and in fact the whole nation. That is why it brought together the Islamists and secularists.... If President Erdoğan can sustain this good spirit, the failed coup attempt can really turn into a blessing for Turkey.... However, there is something urgent that the president and his team must do in order to sustain the good spirit: Calming down their propaganda machine and restraining their zealous supporters.” 

Standard Digital / Nairobi, Kenya

Preelection prep a good move

“A meeting held at State House between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Council of Governors that spells out security measures to be taken to ensure that peace is maintained as we gear up for elections in 2017 is laudable,” states an editorial. “The three-point resolution is one step, no less significant, to ensure that the 2017 elections don’t plunge the country into chaos as happened in 2007.... But most importantly, the need to rein in on hate speech on social media and other media has been long overdue.” 

The Straits Times / Singapore

Thai government best of bad choices

“[In Thailand], the military junta got 61 per cent approval from voters who took part in the referendum on the military-backed draft Constitution...,” states an editorial. “[A] measure of order is required but one, ideally, that should have come through Thais exercising their full democratic franchise. Still, however imperfect the referendum, it is now time for the nation to settle down. Challenging times are upon the Thais - the King is old ... and economies are generally slowing.... To the extent that the junta can keep things stable in this environment, it might be seen as the best of several bad choices, for now.” 

Ottawa Citizen / Ottawa

Safety measures needed near water

“[A] 10-year-old boy [recently] drowned [at Constance Bay]...,” states an editorial. “Why is there no signage to point out where the dangers lie?... The ownership of the beach is complicated, says the city of Ottawa.... But from a public safety perspective, who cares where the child entered the water? If the public is known to frequent the area, believing it all to be general beachfront, it seems logical the city should inform them of any potential dangers.... Not all tragedy can be prevented, nor do we imply that accidents are the government’s fault. People – often children – do swim in waters they are unfamiliar with, regardless of whether or not there’s a sign to inform them of specific risks..... But it shouldn’t take a tragedy to have people thinking about basic safety tools: signage, maybe a life buoy station or rescue pole, to-boot. Instead of buck passing, let’s act.”  

Deutsche Welle / Bonn, Germany

World ignoring Yemen

“The world has looked the other way while Saudi Arabia drops internationally banned cluster bombs [on Yemen] and when the kingdom, as it successfully did in June, blackmails the United Nations by threatening to pull funding for unrelated UN programs if the country is not dropped from the secretary-general’s ‘list of shame,’ which calls out states and organizations that kill children or recruit minors for combat...,” writes Matthias von Hein. “[T]he US State Department approved the sale of more weapons and military vehicles to the country in a deal worth approximately 1 billion euros ($1.15 billion). The accompanying statement praised Saudi Arabia as a ‘leading contributor of political stability and economic progress in the Middle East’ - that would be news to many Yemenis.... [T]he least [Germany] could - and should - do to uphold its international credibility is to categorically stop all its arms exports to Saudi Arabia.” 

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