[Weekly Review] | August 26, 2014, by Camille Bromley | Harper's Magazine

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Demilitarizing Ferguson; the disparate fates of Middle East hostages; and the long and short of German sausages

“His Majesty Frank Penguin, King of the Brutes” (January 1857)

“His Majesty Frank Penguin, King of the Brutes” (January 1857)

Following 11 days of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer named Darren Wilson, Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from the city. A St. Louis County police officer was suspended for pointing an assault rifle at a Ferguson protester and saying “I will fucking kill you,” and a second St. Louis County police officer was suspended after a video surfaced in which he said, “I’m into diversity — I kill everybody.” More than 4,500 people attended Brown’s funeral in St. Louis, and President Barack Obama called for a review of the federal government’s policy of providing local law-enforcement officials with military-grade body armor, automatic weapons, and armored trucks.[1][2][3][4][5] Four miles north of Ferguson, St. Louis police killed Kajieme Powell, a 25-year-old black man who brandished a knife at officers and yelled, “Shoot me! Shoot me now, motherfucker!” after allegedly stealing two cans of soda and a pastry. “Over a fucking honey bun,” said a witness.[6] In retaliation for U.S. air strikes in Iraq, militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) beheaded American freelance journalist James Foley, who disappeared in November 2012, and posted footage of the execution to YouTube. A former ISIL abductee identified the executioner as a Londoner named John, one of an abusive trio of English militants hostages had dubbed the Beatles. ISIL further threatened to behead journalist Steven Sotloff, whom it has also kidnapped, if American air strikes in Iraq continue. President Obama announced that air strikes in Iraq would continue, and U.S. military officials signaled that strikes might be launched in Syria, where ISIL captured the Taqba airbase from government forces.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] The Nusra Front released American freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who was taken hostage one month before Foley disappeared.[14] On Ukraine’s Independence Day, pro-Russian separatists paraded captive Ukrainian soldiers through Donetsk to the tune of Tchaikovsky’s “Slavonic March” as onlookers threw beer bottles, eggs, and tomatoes. “Shoot them!” yelled a woman. “I am in favor of this parade,” said a nurse.[15]

Hamas admitted to having kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June.[16] In separate air raids on Gaza, Israel killed three top Hamas military commanders; bombed the house of Hamas chief commander Mohammed Deif while he was reportedly absent, killing one of his wives, his three-year-old daughter, and his infant son; and collapsed a 12-story, 44-unit residential building while targeting a fourth-floor apartment that was serving as a Hamas operations center. “There’s a longstanding conventional wisdom that Israel doesn’t do well in wars of attrition,” said Michael B. Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States. “Israel’s entire existence has been a war of attrition.”[17][18][19][20][21] Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf imposed a quarantine on West Point, a Monrovia slum where the government had, without informing the area’s 75,000 residents, transformed a public school into a holding center for Ebola patients.[22][23] An American doctor and a missionary who contracted Ebola in Liberia were released from an Atlanta hospital after being successfully treated with the experimental drug ZMapp.[24] A Cameroonian soccer player for the Algerian club JS Kabylie was killed on his way off the pitch by a rock thrown by a supporter, and in South Africa’s Limpopo province, a farmhand died after two men pelted him with oranges.[25][26] Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro ordered the country’s supermarkets to fingerprint shoppers in order to prevent hoarding and smuggling.[27] A hitchhiking robot arrived in Victoria, British Columbia, ending a three-week trek west from Nova Scotia, and a koala that had been struck by a car in Melbourne was revived using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.[28][29]


A Goliath grouper swallowed a four-foot-long nurse shark off the Gulf Coast.[30] In China, a former Beijing Zoo administrator on trial for corruption claimed that he had earned $3.6 million partly by moonlighting as a taxi driver, and five members of a Christian sect went on trial for beating to death a woman who had refused recruitment at a McDonald’s.[31][32] A man who had concealed an iPod in his shoe was arrested for filming up a woman’s skirt at a Florida Walmart.[33] A California woman was arrested for trespassing after twice dressing in scrubs and carrying into a hospital a pair of lifelike infant dolls she had made with the aim of consoling mothers who had lost babies. “I take them places with me for advertisement purposes,” she said, “because obviously they speak for themselves.”[34][35] Doctors in India found that abdominal pains suffered by a 62-year-old woman had been caused by a 38-year-old fetal skeleton.[36] It was reported that a Croatian nurse had been arrested for possessing a collection of preserved penises harvested from dead patients.[37] An Italian restaurant in Taiwan apologized for naming a pasta dish whose primary ingredient was German sausage “Long Live the Nazis,” and a judge in the German town of Leer ordered a defendant’s penis measured after the man claimed its size made it impossible for him to be guilty of exhibitionism. “I’m sorry, darling,” said the man’s wife, “but your penis is too short to hang out of your trousers.”[38][39]

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