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Dancing while Rome burnt...

So far, protests against US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has led to only one death, but that is more a tribute to protesters' caution rather than the wisdom of the step.

The recognition has been accompanied by the USA's decision to shift its embassy. For the time, that has the USA recognizing one city as a country's capital, and having its embassy in another, but it's lived down worse things before, like having Trump as President.

Of course, Trump hasn't done any dancing yet. Unlike Asif Zardari, who restrained his instincts until he left the Presidency, and waited until the PPP's Golden Jubilee rally to show the world that he swung a dashed efficient shoe. His son Bilawal had the grace to look embarrassed at his old man's antics.

Actually, he should have been glad he was only behaving like the lynchpin of a cultural troupe. Imagine him being embarrassed for the same reason the younger President Bush is; because the elder President Bush has been caught sexually harassing someone.

This whole harassment thing may have started in Hollywood, but it is engulfing Washington. The Democrat Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, has resigned rather than face an Ethics Committee investigation into a lot of groping, but if Republican nominee Roy Moore is elected from Alabama in the special election on Tuesday (tomorrow) to fill the seat the Attorney General vacated, the US Senate will still not be a safe place, because the campaign uncovered allegations of criminal assault against him. The Harvey Weinstein of Washington? Or rather, the Donald Trump. Senator Franken was cheesed off at having to resign even though Trump remained in the White House. He was elected despite his recorded (unsavoury) boasts. He has backed Moore, but not Weinstein. A Congressman has also resigned because of an Ethics Committee probe.

Maybe Washington is a moral place, and Hollywood a den of harassers. Trump represents a crossover, for he went there after a stint in showbiz, as the host of a reality show, The Apprentice. Senator Franken was also a crossover, having not just been one of the founding actors and writers for Saturday Night Live, but also appearing in films, for which he also wrote.

Of course, harassment is not the worst accusation in Delhi. When Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyer called Prime Minister Narendra Modi neech, he wasn't referring to his behaviour, but to his being a teli, which is an Other Backward Caste in his Native Gujarat. Aiyer himself, as his name tells us, is a Brahmin from Tamil Nadu. The South is not as caste-ridden as the Cow Belt, but still far from egalitarian.

At least Bilawal is being embarrassed by his father, not the other way round. It's Donald Trump Jr who's embarrassing the President with his testimony (or rather refusal to testify) about the meeting between the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer. Trump Sr should worry less about Jerusalem than the wildfires in California. True, most think the fires have been caused by global warming. As all Trump fans know, that is just a Chinese conspiracy to stop the USA becoming great again. So those fires are just a sign that the Chinese have the power to cause fires in California. Hmm... And there's North Korea going ahead with missile tests, just because its leader, Kim Jong-Un, is jealous of Trump's hairstyle.

Trump's Defence Secretary, 'Mad Dog' Mattis was in town. He not just met 'Smiling Sumo' Khurram Dastagir, but also 'Jumbo Jat' Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. But Islamabad couldn't get away from the father-son thing, could it. Hussain and Hassan Nawaz have been declared proclaimed offenders by the Accountability Court trying them for unexplained wealth. I suppose the declaration came through the usual means, which includes 'by beat of drum'. In this modern age, this should include posts on Twitter. But maybe that has been left for the PTI.

What has not been left for it has been the end of loadshedding. Well, the end was declared last Sunday, after which the power was off twice on Monday, but it's been flowing ever since, indicating that this is one of the feeders with line losses of less than 10 percent. Of course, 15 officials had to be suspended. Let's see what happens in summer, in the elections. I would suggest that Mian Nawaz Sharif not show off his moves in them, and leave that to Zardari and maybe Imran Khan. Meanwhile, Nawaz's sons will campaign for him with great big warts on their faces. And Zardari has asked for Shahbaz's resignation. That needn't be taken seriously. Zardari delivered the demand sitting down, not dancing .

On the other hand, the demand by Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi, that Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah resign, should be taken seriously, as the pir is not a dancing man. Rana seems under a lot of pressure. Apart from the Ahmadi issue, there's also been a court-ordered release of the Model Town massacre report, which has him in its crosshairs. If he feels cold, it's not the winter.

And then Shashi Kapoor has gone at last, at 79, the last of the sons of Prithvi Raj Kapoor. My late father used to wonder how such a slight man could beat up so many hulking villains. At the end, he wasn't slight, and resembled no one more than his brother Shammi, who brought embonpoint to the screen. But he was an actor who had fun doing what he was doing, and let the audience too.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Dec 11, 2017
Words:1025
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