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CHARLES MEMMINGER

Wednesday, October 2, 2002


Flying dwarves
a big problem for
the United Nations


Apparently stung by U.S. president George W. Bush's warning that it must either act or become irrelevant, the United Nations finally took strong action to protect human rights of the oppressed by upholding a ban on the sport of "dwarf tossing."

The U.N. Human Rights Commission ruled that France's 1995 ban on the throwing of dwarfs for sport and entertainment protects public order and human dignity, even though the dwarves involved voluntarily take part in the pastime and claim it is their profession.

Moving with uncharacteristic speed, it took the U.N. only seven years to crack down on this outrage against human decency. The dynamic move is expected to silence critics who claim the world body coddles ruthless dictators like Iraq's Saddam Hussein, whose country, though relatively dwarfless, is rumored to contain two or three unhappy citizens.

By moving rapidly (i.e. less than the usual one or two decades) to crack down on dwarf-tossing, one of the world's most shocking examples of human rights abuse, the U.N. is showing it may be ready to address less despicable outrages, such as the human slave trade in the Sudan, the harvesting of human organs from prisoners in China and the annoying Internet "Nigerian letter scam."

Because the international dwarf-tossing industry is so important to the world financial markets, the barbaric practice has received little news coverage from the monolithic corporate-controlled media. Only France, a country so interested in global peace and security and the dignity of human beings that it has sold weapons and nuclear components to upstanding countries like Iraq, Iran and Syria, had the guts to crack down on dwarf-tossing.

The insidious practice of dwarf-tossing began, not surprisingly, in those breeding grounds of greed and decadence: The United States and Australia in the 1980s. Like those other threats to world stability -- Starbucks, McDonald's and the George Foreman Grill -- dwarf-tossing was exported to unsuspecting countries. The alleged sport involves the tossing of helmeted and padded dwarf stuntmen (the tossees) in bars or discos by larger men (the "tossers").

France banned the practice despite the fact that many of the tiny practitioners said they did not find it demeaning and made a lot of money doing it.

Now that the U.N. has upheld the ban, it is expected to send teams of inspectors to France to assure compliance with all relevant U.N. resolutions. Dwarf "No Fly Zones" already have been established in Paris, Marseilles and Bordeaux -- hotbeds of dwarf-throwing.

Having proven it does have a backbone, the U.N. is expected to move against countries suspected of harboring terrorists and weapons of mass destruction, as soon as it has shut down the notorious dwarf abuse training camp "Cirque de Soleil" in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Boise, Idaho.




Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com





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