This week kicked off with a lot of commotion both here and abroad. In this week's "Week in Review" I'm going to start off with international news before turning my attention to what has happened here in our own community. On Sunday, Cuba erupted in protest which seems from most accounts to largely have been peaceful. It was met however with violence and repression as one might expect under a communist regime.
In South Africa there is also a large amount of unrest which has turned incredibly violent. Footage is reminiscent of the kind of things we saw last summer across many of the major cities in the US. Initially the official government response was light handed according to the German outlet DW because they wanted to avoid a narrative of state violence against black citizens. Some of those affected have taken the law into their own hands in, and at least 72 have lost their lives while more than a thousand have been arrested.
It seems that since this video was released the government has decided to take a more heavy handed approach with the head of the armed forces saying “It is no longer just thuggery, this is economic sabotage…It is a threat to our people so you have to restore that freedom. You don't have to lower your guns.” according to OANN.
South Africa is a tragic but interesting case study on the effects of racial tensions on society. I don't think enough people take the time to understand the complexities of the situation there.
Here at home we started the week off with tension rising around Board of Education decisions. According to The Journal, more than 100 people attended a rally on Monday to "protest the inclusion of Critical Race Theory within the county school system." The rally was organized by We the People of Jefferson County, an organization of constitutional conservatives inspired by the Tea Party movement, to coincide with the general meeting that is normally scheduled to take place at the Board on Monday evenings.
The superintendent and at least some board of education members made the decision to hold the regular meeting via Zoom only. The public was notified of that decision through a placement on the board of education website on Monday morning.
The Board president declined to elaborate on the decision, but it seems likely this was an effort to avoid being confronted by the people who elected them. Dr Donna Joy indicated to The Journal that she wasn't asked about a venue change, and the Police Chief confirmed that he did discuss the situation with Bondy Shay Gibson, the superintendent for the county. I wrote a separate article on what happened at the Board Meeting. The video can be viewed directly here.
So that was Monday. On Tuesday it was reported that China "drove away" a US ship that had entered contested waters around the Paracel Islands. This happened on the anniversary date of a UN ruling that China did not have a territorial claim over the South China Sea. The US Navy has conducted "Freedom of Navigation" operations in the South China Sea for quite a while, but it seems China is getting more aggressive while we seem perhaps less sure of our military superiority.
USS Benfold entered the waters of the Paracels on Monday without the approval of the Chinese government, seriously violating China's sovereignty and undermining the stability of the South China Sea, the People's Liberation Army's Southern Theatre Command said.
The Chinese government has done a lot to try and alter the world's perception regarding their sovereignty over the South China Sea. They even passed a law forbidding maps or globes made in China from not showing what's commonly referred to as the "9 dash line" and other territorial claims in China's favor.
Also on Tuesday, Joe Biden was in Philadelphia trying to try and push back against election audit efforts and said something that was once attributed to Joseph Stalin.
On Wednesday, Epoch Times reported that a North Carolina state board was censored on YouTube for medical misinformation. In response, the Board of Commissioners is re-evaluating their previous decision to purchase more services and technology from Google. Maybe North Carolina will join the fediverse and start using open source technologies.
“We aren’t going to buy Google products whenever we have a choice,” Board of Commissioner Chairman William Lapsley told The Epoch Times.
NTD News reported on Wednesday that Ron DeSantis was looking for ways to help provide internet access to the citizens of Cuba. He said he was going to look into what private companies might be able to offer.
On Thursday, Epoch Times reported that one county in Pennsylvania was refusing a request for access to election equipment by the state legislature. This was in light of a directive from the Pennsylvania State Department which said compliance with the people's request would result in the de-certification of the equipment.
In Europe, several countries reported flooding this week. Netherlands, Luxemborg, Begium, and Germany are all experiencing heavy flooding with more than 60 dead as of Thursday according to AP. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor offered her condolences and expressed shock at the level of devastation from Washington D.C.
On Friday, The Journal announced that the Jefferson County Commission is opening meetings back up to the public. New rules are being implemented that will limit availability and require pre-registration. The process is not yet in place, but it's expected that more information will become available before August 5 which is when the Commission is scheduled to meet next. JCC President Steve Stolipher explained prior to the vote that they would adhere to guidelines worked out with the health department and other agencies.
“We have to make sure we keep the peace,” he said. “We will consult with whatever agencies we can."
During the same meeting, which took place on Thursday, the commission voted to create a new role in government administration. In a unanimous decision, the commission a new director of emergency services position. They also voted to approve an as of yet incomplete agreement with the WV Development office regarding land use review for the Hill Top Tourism Development District in Harpers Ferry to offer assistance enforcing code for the state. West Virginia will reimburse the county for the work done by county employees.