We were not invited. Instead, the presence of 27 of the world’s “Sovereign Monarchs” was properly and politely requested for a lunch last week with one Liz Windsor, in celebration of her 50th year on England’s throne.
Apparently, the Queen didn’t want to spend her Diamond Jubilee hanging out with the 99 percent. Or even the 99 percent of the 1 percent. After all, it’s her party (albeit financed by the common man), and she’ll twist and shout with her fellow blue-blood royals if she wants to. But, while nice ol’ Liz was serving a sophisticated supper to kings, queens, sheiks, emirs, sultans, emperors and empresses, there were detractors.
“Inviting these blood-soaked dictators brings shame to the monarchy and tarnishes the Diamond Jubilee celebrations,” declared human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, pointing to tyrants attending from Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Brunei, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland.
He missed a few. Why not add King Mohammed VI of Morocco, who still has the power to veto most government decisions, or Sultan Qaboos of Oman, who personally makes all the key decisions in his country?
What level of despotism is just too much? Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s role may be largely symbolic, but citizens remain subject to arrest for any insult to the king.
Granted, most of the remaining monarchs hold their positions of privilege and pomp with little circumstance. They are not the dictators of old, brutalizing the people at whim.
Progress, I guess.
But why continue even the trappings of monarchy? And why dine with the real thing?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.