Swank Regrets

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

The Arab Spring has turned upside-down considerations of who-is-in, who-is-out. Suddenly a whole array of politicians (e.g. Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy) are red-in-the-face over their previous cozy relations with autocratic Arab rulers. That goes for entertainers, too: Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, for example, suddenly are not so proud anymore of exclusive concerts they performed for Muammar Qaddafi’s entourage.

So what do we have here, in bright traffic-cone orange?

#monde ● Fête du président tchétchène: Hilary Swank “regrette”: “Je regrette profondément d’avoir assisté à cet … http://t.co/LrxxiQiC

@news_suisse

News Suisse


Now it’s Hollywood actress Hilary Swank who is embarrassed! OK, this time it is not any Arab ruler, but rather President Ramzah Kadyrov of Chechenya whose 35th birthday party in his capital Grozny Swank attended last week, according to the article on the Swiss site 24 heures to which that @news_suisse tweet links. Oops! Turns out that Kadyrov has long been accused of permitting systematic torture and assassination within his country, in his capacity as the local Russian Federation puppet-ruler.

Well, Ms. Swank definitely is definitely sorry she showed up there now, saying in an issued statement “I profoundly regret having attended this event, which put into question my long-standing and deep engagement for the defense of human rights.”

Just a couple problems, though. For one, even if Ms. Swank could not be bothered to look up President Kadyrov’s record before accepting his invitation, the New York City-based Human Rights Foundation did send her a warning about him beforehand. But she went anyway – and was paid to do so, apparently. So if she’s so sorry, what does she plan to do with that money? HRF spokesperson Sarah Wasserman – and maybe the rest of us – wants to know.

P.S. The famed Belgian martial arts action-movie star was also at that birthday celebration, but hasn’t bothered to issue any declaration. Jean-Claude, it seems, doesn’t give a Van Damme.

UPDATE: Right then, here’s the story with that money she earned in Grozny:

Hilary Swank Giving Fees From Chechen Event To Charity http://t.co/V1QD73uS

@RFE_RLNEWS

RFE/RL News

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After Beslan: A Czech View

Monday, September 13th, 2004

It’s been a full week now since the bloodbath at Middle School #1 in Beslan, and what effects has that incident had so far? OK, there have been some firings of officials in charge of security in North Ossetia, and indeed of the entire North Ossetian regional government save the top guy, President Alexander Dzasokhov. (Here’s a good summary of those developments – from Australia no less!) And after first refusing any public inquiry into the affair, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday relented, so that the Russian Senate will start its investigation later on this month.

Still, deeper questions remain, which even those Senators might be hesitant to broach. Like: What can Russia do to prevent such massacres happening again? What connection does it all have to the ongoing violence in Chechenya, and what implications does it have for that struggle? Josef Pazderka comes up with some interesting observations about this incident’s aftermath in his piece (What Changes After Breslan) in the Czech opinion-weekly Respekt. (more…)

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