I was away from home last night, and using my little Asus netbook, and I thought I’d posted up a new blog post, but when I got home today there was no sign of it at all. I must’ve pressed some wrong button. So here it is again.
H/T Joe L for this BBC report:
IS conflict: Manbij residents celebrate liberation
Residents in the northern Syrian city of Manbij have been celebrating new freedoms after being liberated from the rule of so-called Islamic State.
They have poured into the streets enjoying basic rights they had been denied for two years, including shaving off their beards and smoking.
Good to see the BBC saying that smoking is a “basic right”. And now that smokers in Manbij have been liberated from Daesh (aka Islamic State), can we now have some air strikes to liberate the Western world from its Western secular proxy, DeASH? (H/T Tony for spotting that one.)
Also Fidel Castro was 90 years old a day or two back, and a 1994 interview of him by Cigar Aficionado was republished.
Castro: …I was always a cigar smoker, as far as I can remember, since I was 15 years old until I was about 59 years old. That’s about 44 years of being a cigar smoker. On two occasions in my life I didn’t smoke. Once was during the Revolution because there was a great movement against cigars as a result of an uprising of the peasants on the plantations, and tobacco production went down. There was a great spirit against cigars. In order to be in solidarity with them, I quit for some time. But that was the only reason. Soon production recovered, and I started smoking again. Later I did not smoke because of reasons of health. Many people in our country were against smoking. I didn’t not smoke because I didn’t like cigars. I was very much in the habit. But there was a whole national movement against smoking.
Shanken: In what year was this?
Castro: I can’t remember exactly. It was ’84 or ’85. No. It was on Aug. 26, 1985. It was when there was a general health issue in Cuba against smoking. At first, I thought that I would simply try not to smoke in public for this campaign against smoking, and I did not make a commitment to it. I used to be with a cigar in my mouth all the time. I always had a cigar. When I was with a foreigner in a meeting like this, I would be smoking my cigars. Pictures would show me smoking cigars, or in an interview on television I was smoking cigars. And then the interview would be shown on television here, and you can imagine what people would think watching me smoke my cigars. Then I came to a decision that to really launch a campaign against smoking, I had to set the example and quit smoking. That was why I quit smoking. As I had a very strong motive, it was easier for me. I not only had a strong commitment; I had a strong motive. So, it was not so hard for me to stop smoking. People used to ask me if I still smoked when I was alone because it seemed impossible to them that I could quit smoking cigars after all those years. I must be smoking at home.
It seems he believes whatever the WHO tells him.
Castro: I did it for reasons of health, even though my health was OK. It was a moral duty to contribute to the campaign against smoking. The World Health Organization had a campaign against smoking, and we were the first ones to support it. One day, in the same place that we are sitting now, a representative of the WHO came here to present me with two medals—one for not smoking and the other one for the government programs after the Revolution, which have turned Cuba into one of the countries with the best health ratings of Third World countries in the world. So, you see, I can’t smoke anymore. My commitment is very strong. It is final. It is a kind of commitment that I can’t change.
Despite this, he’s very proud of Cuba’s cigar industry. It seems that the Cohiba brand is his own Cuban state brand, and that “cohiba” is the native Cuban name for a cigar.
So he sells cigars, but campaigns against smoking.