Also from this past weekend:
The absolutely essential person Anatoly Shariy (Ukrainian journalist in exile from Stupidity) put out a new video message in which he defends the African nation of Gabon.
Defends it from a racist and sneering comment made by Odessa Governor Mikhail Saakashvili.
Recall that in a TV interview Saak (as part of his campaign to discredit Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenuk), had expressed dire warnings about Ukrainian economy. To the effect that, “If we don’t watch out, we’ll sink to the level of Gabon.”
It’s one of those memes, you’re blabbing along, your lips moving independently of your brain, and you reach into your mind for some hyperbole, what’s the most primitive country you can think of for your clever simile? Out popped Gabon. Some of the Russian press unthinkingly followed up this story with images of primitive tribesmen in painted faces. (As if everybody in Africa walks around wearing face-paint and grass skirts; of course they do! even when they’re NOT folk dancing for the tourists.)
To explain, if not excuse, these journalists: They could give a fig about Gabon, they were more happily jumping all over the Saakashvili vs. Yatsenuk cat fight, and didn’t want to drop that lede.
But Shariy, having a more analytical mind, decided to actually fact-check Saak’s simile, and this is what he learned:
Gabon exceeds Ukraine in all possible metrics. In Gabon GDP per capita is $14,000. Government debt comes to $10 billion.
Compare this to Ukraine, whose external debt constitutes $180 billion, and GDP per capita is only $5,800.
Here are some other facts which I found on wikipedia:
Since its independence from France in 1960, Gabon has had three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions. Gabon was also a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2010–2011 term.
Low population density, abundant petroleum, and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 4th highest HDI and the third highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Equatorial Guinea and Botswana) in the region.
So who is the benighted country now?