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January 31, 2008

The “OC” Showdown Debate

Peter B here. 


(I’ll  be frequently adding on to this blog post as I watch the debate).

Obama and Clinton are having a face-off polite debate on CNN as I type this message.  Edwards officially dropped out of the Democratic race yesterday, leaving two big guns to square off debate in tonight.

CNN’s Political Ticker blog posted an article earlier today showing some stats that Obama was technically the most liberal senator in 2008.  Read the article for details on the "technically" part (you’ll hear some echos from John Kerry’s 2003 campaign).

On the far edge of the scale, Rolling Stone’s latest issue features an article by Matt Taibbi that compares the Obama-Clinton faceoff as a rehash of the Kennedy-Nixon debates of the 60’s.  "It’s Kennedy-Nixon redux – two superficial conservatives selling highly similar politics".   Interesting reading, suitably rant-heavy for today’s Rolling Stone – and tears into Hillary as much as Nixon was torn into years ago.  Special applause to Victor Juhasz for the illustration of Hillary looking like a sweating Nixon.

I tuned in a few minutes late into the "OC" debate,  but my first observation was similar to Juhasz’s illustrations – Obama is looking cool and charsimatic with (seemingly) little effort, Clinton looks like she’s trying too hard to keep it at Obama’s level.  When Barak’s talking and rolling out the laughs (laughs on underlying serious subjects), Hillary seems to nerviously shrink into the background and scribble on her notepad with a grimace on her face.  I think that smirk/grimace is what Juhasz  depicted as the "Nixon drips of sweat", although she looks more pissed off than nervous.   Charisma is going to be the big final factor here, and Hillary is losing on that front.

Hillary is talking about smaller, more important details that make more sense, and her points are ones that can only come from someone with experience.  Obama is handing out the promises and the ideas on the bigger picture issues.  

~~~more commentary to follow.

7:55pm CST:  Hillary is looking more and more pissed off as Obama talks.   If you’re ever looking for a poker partner, don’t pick Hillary – she can’t keep a straight face.  Just don’t pick your president based on their poker face skills.
The "webcast" version of the debate on CNN.com features a live "people meter" overlaid over the debate, a kind of line graph that apparently tallies the positive reactions of a large panel of largely "undecided" voters.  According to the "people meter", the panel is getting the best reactions from Hillary’s turns on the camera.  It spikes when she talks about her experience on human rights.  When she’s talking about her experience, her charisma spikes – both on the chart and in here.
The chart dips whenever Hillary leaves the camera – my first reaction when tuning into the debate may have been wrong…

One of the questions towards Hillary is her stance on change when her presidency would be another link on the the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton cycle.   Best reaction so far for Hillary – "it took one Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, it will take another to clean up after the second one".   Obama’s chagrin to that line -and the resulting applause- was clear.

Hillary (paraphrased): we need someone that not only start getting us out of Iraq, but who has the balls to stand up against the barrage from the Republicans when we start doing it.
So True!
Hillary’s gained steam and shining over Barak.  Obama’s the one now in the background, hands crossed nervously, doubting himself.

~After the debate~
Hillary has shown her strengths by responding with specifics and realistic proposals, contrasted by Obama’s generalizations and idealistic "wishes".
I originally missed the critical part of the debate (at the beginning) about healthcare, which was one of Obama’s few strongpoints of the debate – CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider mentions in his political ticker:

 Obama is very clever, to mention Ted Kennedy early in the evening – and follow that reference with a reminder of his bi-partisan credentials. This is a very important point: no major policy initiative in the United States can be passed without bi-partisan consensus. That’s the way our system was designed, and he understands that.

Meanwhile, Clinton is seizing universal health care as her issue – saying, in a very subtle way: I’m for universal health care, and he’s not. This is a core Democratic issue

She also takes a much more conciliatory view of insurance companies – we have to work with them instead of fighting them. That may not be a view that resonates with Edwards supporters.
Wolf Blitzer was keen on needling both candidates throughout the debate, hoping for more of a traditional "fight" debate, but both candidates kept their cool, aiming their ire against the Bush administration than against each other (a choice for the better).  The way it should be – less finger pointing at each other, and a unified finger at the Bush administration.

Unified…. the final question – the possiblity of a Clinton/Obama (or Obama/Clinton) ticket – is a question everyone wanted to know about.   But it was a typical "polite" response with the expected smiles and light jokes, not worth the last few minutes of the debate when more important questions could have been answered.   In contrast, the question to Hillary about keeping Bill’s "firestorm" in check was not, as many on CNN mentioned, a pointless question – a lot of undecided voters have a little of the right wing thought process still lingering in them and need to be assured about this.  Clinton’s response didn’t exactly help assure them, unfortunetly, other than trying to get people to feel sorry for her for having to put up with the echo of the right wing firestorm that Bill Clinton endured in the 90’s.

The debate was a good sign that the democratic candidates (the two of them remaining) finally ending their tearing at one other’s throats.  Despite my original impression (most likely resulting from tuning in right at the end of Obama’s brief high point on healthcare) Hillary seemed to come out ahead on this one.  Experience and change are both the key points here for a president.  Obama has to learn some things, and has to gain some experience before he can sit in the Oval Office.  He’s a very smart candidate, but as Hunter once said…

Even smart people have to be taught… that’s all well and good but I don’t have to do the teaching
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Good night.

-Peter B 

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January 22, 2008


congrats Johnny! And Alex Gibney!

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January 20, 2008

An American Story

Hi. I’m at the Sundance Film Festival, where I saw Alex Gibney’s documentary about Hunter this afternoon. Just as Vladimir Nabokov’s mind mirrored his homeland — Russia, with its vast memories of good and evil, rich and profound literature, and a language tightly laced with double and triple meanings — Hunter’s mind mirrored that of America: revolutionary, passionate, and intensely complex.

So, Alex does a beautiful job of telling an American story through the life and work of our Hunter S. Thompson. As Ed Abbey said, Hunter was a seer, and Alex uses the 1965-1975 years of Hunter’s writing not just to document Hunter’s story, but also to show us about our own history as a country. Of course my job is to protect Hunter’s legacy, and I tend to be very sensitive to any unfair criticism of my husband, but I’m happy to say that Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is an extraordinary film.

Of course, seeing the documentary for the first time, and knowing all the cheesy crap that is coming out about Hunter, I came into the screening a little tense as I sat down with Alex Gibney’s wife. But I tried to show a positive attitude, knowing that Gibney, in the past, has not been interested in sensationalizing for money – plus I had been working with his research crew of Don Fleming, Eva, and others during the making of the film.  This is the best documentary I’ve seen on Hunter to date and I highly recommend it.

Hunter’s earlier work, which is the sole focus of Alex’s documentary is a great monument to America’s history: Hunter’s work on the Hell’s Angels, the McGovern Campaign, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas show us how we got here, to this America we live in now. Want to know how Nixon managed to kill the American Dream? Alex chronicles the story through interviews and Hunter’s writing during that period.  Hunter’s prolific work during the last years of his life, which focused a great deal on the 21st century crisis, tells us about our future and is hinted at in the film. Jimmy Carter, Ralph Steadman, Doug Brinkley, Pat Buchanan, Tim Crouse, George McGovern, Johnny Depp and others do a great job telling the tale. Ralph Steadman is fantastic as ever. I make some comments in the film about Hunter’s very early years, and his reaction to the 2004 Bush election.

It is extremely well researched, well funded, and I must say mostly unbiased. It sure is NOT a valentine. Hunter’s ex-wife, Sondi Wright, tells most of the story in front of an entertaining, psychedelic background, & in the end, basically says Hunter died a loser, despite the fact she hadn’t lived with him for over 30 years. Gary Hart calls Hunter’s Eagleton coverage “infantile” (that, coming from Mr. Monkey Business). And of course Jann gets his jabs in about Hunter. But in all, Gibney keeps it relatively fair and the love shines through.

But watching Hunter’s image again on the big screen, hearing his voice on the surround sound, and all the archival footage that I hadn’t even seen before, left me so emotional I had to have a good cry with my dear friend George McGovern afterwards. George already knows my sense of regret about failing as a wife to protect Hunter from depression & dark forces from certain people. And tells me that it’s grandiose to think that I could stop God’s will. I didn’t mask my feelings of regret very well in the film  — but the film itself is well done: Gibney does a beautiful job of keeping the narrative about Hunter’s life and work trhough the words of people who knew him best during the 1965-1975 years.

Anyway,  McGovern is in the film and gives his astute assessment of the essence of Hunter’s patriotism. In addition to our personal talk, the senator and I had a long-overdue discussion about the movie, Hunter’s work, and George’s current political views. We also talked about the article he wrote in the Washington Post a few weeks ago (I posted it earlier). So talking to the senator on the phone brought a smile back to my face, and I’ll fill you in on his feelings about Hillary, Barack, and Bush in another blog entry. Much to tell!!

It’s been an emotional, but good day. I also talked to Shelby, Doug, John Walsh, and my mom. So all is well in the world.

But I gotta brush my hair and run to the reception dinner.

Your friend, at Sundance,
Anita Thompson



P.S. Tonight, my friend, (on his way to the Sudan) Stacey McCain, emailed me after reading my  blog to say he might print cards that say “will sensationalize for money.”  Gee why didn’t we think of this sooner! Ha!




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January 18, 2008

dancing in the sun (in subzero weather)

Peter B here with a few updates.

Anita is sick in bed right now trying to get well to make it to the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the premiere of Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.  She decided to wait and see it for the first time with Hunter’s fans at the premiere, and attend the opening dinner party with the crew. The film is directed by award winning director and movie producer Alex Gibney. She said Gibney and his staff are first-rate and looks forward to the event. Johnny Depp does narrate.

Depp wears the Gonzo pendant on the cover of Rolling Stone this month*, and (according to internet buzz) should be nominated for an Oscar later next week.  Hopefully the WGA strike will be over by the time the Academy Awards telecast hits the airwaves (unlikely, but we can all hope).

I think this is a good moment for a quote from Hunter on creativity.  It’ll be hard to beat last week’s chainsaw-to-the-nuts quote in terms of sheer impact, but this one comes from 2002 RE writing and finishing Kingdom of Fear.

Creativity, when it’s going well, doesn’t feel like work.  Creativity gone wrong, feels like bad, hard work.
-Dr Hunter S Thompson 11/21/2002


Have a good weekend.

-Peter B

* I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently inquiring about the necklace that Johnny wears on the cover of January’s Rolling Stone.  Due to high demand since the RS hit newstands, we will be stocking similar pieces on GonzoStore soon.  We may also stock limited quantities of precious metal (silver or gold)  – shoot me an email (gonzowear@gmail.com) if you have interest in one for a valentine’s day gift for someone special or something.

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January 15, 2008

My Life Is Better Than Your Vacation

At the end of this decade no one will be sure of anything except that you must obey all the rules, sex will kill you, politicians lie, rain is poison, and the world is run by whores. These are terrible things have to know in your life, even if you’re rich. 

A doomsday kind of thinking has taken over the media, as it has business and politics:” I’m going to turn you in, son – not for your own good, but because you’re the bastard who turned me in last year.”

This vilification by Nazi elements within the media has not only given me a fierce joy to continue my work – more and more alone out here, as darkness falls on the barricades – but has also made me profoundly orgasmic, mysteriously rich, and constantly at war with those vengeful retro-fascist elements of the Establishment that have hounded me all my life.  It has made me wise, shrewd and crazy on a level understood only by those who have been there.

— Hunter S. Thompson, from a 1994 interview with Kevin Simonson

I’m not going to comment on politics today because Hunter just did it better than I ever could. 

And, yesterday, I was reminded, once again, of why I love living here.  Hunter caught sight of Owl Farm 40 years ago and never let go. Here’s one example of why:  Throwing snowballs in the front yard yesterday with Athena, we were stopped by the sight of nine snow-beds made by deer who had spent the night before, 5 feet away from the peacock pen – right outside the living room window. When the snow gets deep, (it’s about four feet high now) the elk or deer come down from the high country to visit the ‘hood. This herd consisted of nine healthy deer.  I slept through this visit, but so many nights Hunter and I were awake to witness them come up to the house, silently in the moonlight, together, pushing snow out of the way with their hooves, eating the frozen grass, then nestling down in the safety of their freshly made snow beds. They’re peaceful, silent and rare. It’s like being blessed by 450 pound angels.

Unlike Aspen, the herds of elk and deer are still welcome in the Woody Creek natural environment which Hunter called a Peaceable Kingdom.  Anyway, I woke up refreshed and happy to know the deer made this recent visit – all is well in the world. No need to wig out on politics today.

Sean Groover, one of Aspen’s most sought after fly-fishing guides often says to his high rolling clients that “my life is better than your vacation.”  Yep.

So, wherever you are, go outside, and take a look at some wildlife. Even Teddy Roosevelt, as you will learn from Doug Brinkley’s upcoming book, found time to do it constantly, despite his busy schedule even in the city…  There’s nothing like Mother Earth and her creatures to bring you back to life, right?

Eeek, I’m getting sentimental. So I’ll sign off.

Until next time, your friend living it up with the elk, peacocks, dogs, cats, hawks, bald eagles, winter fish, Owls, lots of mice and nine deer,

Anita Thompson

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January 10, 2008

Oops…Camille Paglia Freaks Out In Public

Remember the Gloria Steinem’s article I linked to the other day re: Hillary Clinton? OMG… Camille Paglia, (another famous feminist) got so upset by it that she flipped out on Salon.com with a scathing Dr. Phil-like analysis claiming to know exactly what went on inside the walls of Hillary’s early childhood and intimate relationship with Bill Clinton. Although it’s a mean screed, it’s also one of the funniest opinion pieces I’ve read in a long time. Poor Paglia exposed herself as a pampered, withering brat who couldn’t stand for the calmer, more professional (and beautiful) Gloria Steinem to take the stage.

It is amusing, I must admit, to see intellectuals get overly emotional in public. Paglia’s letter turned into a red-faced, venomous harangue — calling Hillary a "man-hater," "barracuda"… Hillary’s terrible "claustrophobic" childhood causing her to “sneer at her political opponents at the debates.” 

She even writes that "Hillary’s willingness to tolerate Bill’s compulsive philandering is a function of her general contempt for men." Jesus. Camille is too bitter to consider that Hillary feels that which breeds forgiveness: the "L" word. Is it possible that Hillary does Love her husband? Hello.

Yes, poor Camille broke into a million angry pieces today. But it’s okay, although she’s no Oscar Wilde, she is a professional and will pull herself together again soon, hopefully, because I admire and have so much to learn from her. And today, she taught me what NEVER to do in public writing.

Well, at least she cares!

On that note, today’s wisdom comes from one of my notebooks of Hunter’s verbal outbursts:

“It’s better to have a chainsaw taken to your nuts, than to feel nothing at all.”

— Hunter S. Thompson, Owl Farm, 2004


Your friend in the kitchen,

Anita Thompson



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January 08, 2008


Tonight, Hillary Clinton said she found her voice. Perhaps the key word for the rest of the campaign is going to be about what makes her so strong.  Yep, men and women finally discovered she has a Heart of Gold.

Congratulations Hillary…


Your friend,

Anita Thompson


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A Lioness On Your Side


"Iron My Shirt…" 

Although he never expected me to, I did iron Hunter’s clothes, cook for him, take care of him in the most nurturing way I knew how. After he died, I ironed the American flag that was given to me for his military service and hung it with care and pride. But those duties were my choice. When the time came for me to be editor or run our little family business, he was all for that too. Hunter loved and respected women because he was smarter than most of his generation. But my question is not why so many men hate Hillary; I really wonder why there are so many women turning their backs on the best woman to run the White House. Why?


Today in New Hampshire, one of Hillary’s campaign stops was interrupted by male hecklers screaming for her to "IRON MY SHIRT"…jamming posters into the air demanding she go back a century or two.


A few days ago, my friend David and I were taking a lunch break at a busy cafe in Aspen. As we all watched the CNN primary coverage, a good-looking, clearly successful local woman turned to us and said:  "Every woman who doesn’t vote for Hillary needs to take a good look in the mirror and figure out why."


I took a deep gulp of my iced tea and nodded. Well put, I thought.


Anyway, I’m buried in 4 feet of snow today at Owl Farm. Since I have no car, it looks like I’ll be cleaning and polishing the manuscript by the fire with my animals. I’m quite content being land-locked today.  I hope the satellite comes back soon, so I can see what those nasty pundits have to say about Hillary now.

Today’s HST wisdom comes from a college campus tour that Brandon Wennerd (who is assisting me with the manuscript) reminded me of:


As Abbey said, "Hunter was a seer."

Audience: With party platforms between the Democrats and Republicans being pretty much the same thing – nebulous – politics in America seems to be sliding toward individuals, and not parties, such as taking a party for convenience and not for the party’s policy, just for elections.  What do you think will be the outcome of this trend? 

Well, I think it’s both inevitable and almost meaningless.  Well, you see what the fate of someone like Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, who rode that horse as fast as he could and has got suddenly knocked off for reasons as puzzling as the ones that put him where he was in the first place.  That could happen to Jerry Brown.  When there are no major ideological wars going, it’s much safer to run the politics on personality.  And right now, it’s very dangerous when personality becomes the governing factor of the failure or success of a politician’s career.


– Hunter S. Thompson, speaking to students


Your friend, sitting by the fire,


Anita Thompson


P.S. The interesting thing about having a woman in the White House is that women, as you probably have noted, tend to be very nurturing, until it’s time to defend. Then, there’s NOTHING like having a good lioness on your side.



P.P.S. From years of jumping off cliffs & mountaintops with either skies or a paraglider, and chasing blues bands around the country while supporting his son, David doesn’t seem to have any insecurities about his masculinity. And he is the one to email me the Gloria Steinem op-ed about gender. It’s a great read. I couldn’t have put it better myself.




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January 06, 2008

A Grande Tableau



Question: Dr. Thompson, do you think there’s any hope for a young person to feel that he’s effective individually in a large society? Do you think he can be effective actually through a career or through his job?


 I think the bottom line on all that is if you can get away in this life with doing what you want and be proud of it – that to me is effective. If nothing else, it tells one other person anyway that it’s possible to live without having to get in line, or clip coupons.  I think it’s very important for people to live in tense opposition to the system.

  — Hunter S. Thompson, speaking to a young person

This morning Doug Brinkley was sitting in an Austin café managing not to write about current politics, even though he’s itching from the fever that Hunter infected him with years ago. Doug is polishing up the last pages of his book on Teddy Roosevelt. He took a break to make sure I read the recent New York Times article on our friend Sean Penn’s latest movie, “Into the Wild.”  I had raved about the movie after seeing the screening, and he also thought it would cheer me up from my recent bitchiness over Hillary’s loss in Iowa –(Doug is lovingly detached from Hillary).

So I read the article and agree totally that Sean should win the Academy Award for Best Director. But not for the reasons A.O. Scott mentioned in the Times. Although I do agree that Catherine Keener’s performance is brilliant, I think that if you watch the movie closely, you’ll realize that the real hero of the story is the character of the sister. I think the subtlety of her role is Sean’s masterwork in the film: through her grieving but evolving words describing her brother’s actions, she is the one who transcends the biggest loss and helps make sense of it without the clichéd “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” of what it means. Hers is a beautiful character, which Sean places in the movie as the elegant Spine to the whole structure. It’s a refreshing, gorgeous piece of work. Bravo, Sean. So many of us fail miserably (myself included) when we try to tackle something bigger than ourselves. But this is comfortable territory for Sean. Hunter once said, with a smile, that “Sean looks at everything on a Grande Tableau.” Go see the movie, and you’ll understand what Hunter meant.

But if you need a good political fix pronto, log on to George McGovern’s eop-ed piece in this past Sunday’s Washington Post. It’s also about loss, but more specifically why we need to lose George W. Bush..NOW.  It’s more than just a recipe for Impeach Cobbler. It’s the nuts and bolts, in McGovern’s lovely English, of why Bush should be Impeached. David Frank sent me this piece before skiing, heli-style, off jagged cliffs into 4 feet of powder down the back side of Aspen Highlands Mountain this morning. Very interesting day, guys.

Thanks for the distractions. Huge thanks to my loved ones today!


Until next time, your friend,


Anita Thompson







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January 03, 2008

The Game IS Afoot


It was a good day for Obama, and a bad day for Hillary Clinton in the shiny bandwagon state of Iowa. Yes, the game is afoot. The next 33 days are going to be what some people call white-knuckle days, or something like that.


I got back from the library to see the results coming out of Iowa and felt a strange mix of great pride and a little sadness. I am proud that finally, my generation has seen an African American double the amount of caucusers to create such a sparkly image of  “hope” for people who haven’t felt it since the Kennedy days. So that wonderful indeed. Obama is a fantastic orator. He’s like a cross between Winston Churchill and Dr. Martin Luther King.  Too bad he doesn’t have a fraction of their experience.  But with that kind of eloquence, it’s hard to fathom that he could be just a well spoken Empty Suit.  Oprah says he’s not an Empty Suit. And the people of Iowa don’t think he’s an Empty Suit. So either way, it was a good day for the Democrats. Obama will get some huge bucks for this win, which will make him more likely to win New Hampshire, from what I hear. But, you never know.

I’m totally lost without Hunter tonight, and don’t know how I’m going to handle the next 33 days without him. But, he taught us well via his 14 published books, interviews, and, yes, the memories. So, all I have to help me tonight are his words and wisdom and acceptance that it’s normal: American’s rarely elect the best candidate. 

 I was thinking about all this as I unloaded the dishwasher tonight (yep, with an eerie sense that I might be doing that for another century), while listening to the TV, I have to admit that I was a little sad that the young women of Iowa betrayed Hillary, knowing that an annual female medical exam costs $600-$1000 (without insurance). And if we nominate a man who can’t possibly win against Karl Rove’s machine (Curtis pointed out that Rove is no doubt sharpening his fangs with a grin right now), then you don’t even want to know what the cost of an illegal abortion will be in a few years. It’s sad. Sojourner Truth was right.

Anyway, no point in going to bed in a bad mood. Plus I do love the sound of Obama’s voice just as much as he does. So, if he ends up with the nomination, it will actually be a lovely thing to hear his musical, ministerial speeches from now until a new Republican takes office.

On that note, as I’m sure I’ll get many hissing emails by morning, today’s HST wisdom comes from a college campus lecture in 1978:


“If everyone agreed with me or liked me, I’d be very worried.” 

Hunter S. Thompson, Richmond Virginia, 1978


Until next time, your friend, still in the kitchen,

Anita Thompson

p.s. check out Jerri Merritt’s take on this at www.talkleft.com

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January 02, 2008

Pretty Women With AK-47s

It really is irritating that Iowa, which does not represent America in any real sense is taking over the news. There are no inner city slums, approx 99 percent of the population is very white, and there are towns in Iowa so uninteresting that they haven’t seen a non-political visitor since the 1800s. Then it only comes down to a matter of the few who decide to spend two hours and drive to the local high school gym to caucus and "pick a president" (the Repulican caucusers only have to spend about an hour).

Iowa has so much control over both parties, and yes, I’m one of those junkies who obssses over the polls too. But after wobbling around in my Bikram Yoga class today, then working in the library on Hunter’s interview manuscript, something caught my attention that is far more interesting than Iowa. 

The land of Gandhi and Yoga has managed to bring something new, strong and incredibly surprising to the weakened country of Liberia.  As you probably know, Liberia has been struggling with corruption, civil battles and a severe case of machoism making rape so common that it is rarely reported anymore. The police force is mainly male, and women don’t want to join because of its hideous reputaion.

Liberia has been in a state of flux witnessing two civil wars, the First Liberian Civil War (19891996), and the Second Liberian Civil War (19992003), displacing hundreds of thousands of people and decimating the country’s economy. So, as Hunter would say "When the Going Gets Weird, The Weird Turn Pro." 

Indeed. The UN has shipped in an all-woman police force. These aren’t just pretty little Indian girls. They carry AK-47s, and are highly trained in combat.

The sight of an unloading battalion of slim, trim and trained women in royal blue fatigues with blue berets marching in perfect order down the street to take their positions must be a terrible sight for a habitual rapist. Now he’s the one that’s screwed. And what a wonderful sight for those decent men who finally have some real protection for the women they love.  I’ve been VERY lucky in my life with love-affairs, and relations with men, so it is hard for me to imagine what it must be like for the women who have been less fortunate, nonetheless, this is some of the best news I’ve read in long time and I had to share it with you.

I think Hunter would have loved this for many reasons, not the least of which is that he respected women whether they carried a gun or not. We know some of his best editors were women, but most important, he loved any person to take control of her/his own environment. And these Indian women are helping Liberian women do just that.

What I understand from the BBC is that in the past, in addition to the brutal national police force, the previous UN mission in Liberia has been tainted by accusations of severe exploitation as well: such as food given to women in exchange for sex. But Joanna Foster, the gender adviser to the UN Mission says that there is less sexual exploitation when more women are employed in the police force. 

Female Indian UN troops
Their experience in northern India will stand them in good stead

"It limits the sexual exploitation that our people get involved in. In the groups that have a lot more women we get very little reporting of sexual exploitation."

Joanna Foster is also keen to send a message to those training the new Liberian military.

"I understand they are not training the women for combat but with these women coming from India they are going to be a fantastic role model. So I am going to take all of them to the ministry of defence to show them you can train women in combat."

Being half-Ghanaian and half-Indian, Ms Foster has some idea of the cultural challenge facing the Indian peacekeepers.

"Being pretty is a disadvantage here. Indian women are pretty so they are going to be whistled at and all sorts of things but they will have to take it in their stride."

You go girls!

Until next time, your friend,

Anita Thompson 

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