Mubarak dies and meets Nasser and Sadat in the afterlife. They ask him, "Poison or parade?" (Conspiracy theorists allege Nasser was poisoned; Sadat was assassinated during a military parade.)
Mubarak shrugs and answers: "Facebook."
Heard any other good Mubarak jokes over the last few weeks? Leave them in the comments. (Not you, Kenneth Cole.)
FAO via Getty Images.
What better way to bring the family together around the turkey than a joke or two ... about corrupt politicians in distant countries?
I've read the following joke now in a number of forms, about a number of countries. Reader Mgcarbeezy sends us the Kenyan version, but I've also seen Nigerian and Indian ones:
A Kenyan politician goes to the U.S. to visit his counterpart. When the senator invites him over for dinner, the minister is very impressed by the lavish mansion and grounds and the costly furnishings. He asks, "How can you afford all this on a meager senator's salary?" The senator smiles knowingly and takes him to the window.
"Can you see the river?" the senator asks.
"Can you see the bridge over it?"
"Of course," says the Kenyan minister.
"10 percent," the senator says smugly.
Some time later, the senator has occasion to return the visit. The Kenyan minister lavishes all hospitality on him. When they come to his house, the American is stunned by the minister's huge palace, glittering with precious art, his hundreds of servants, and so forth. "How can you possibly afford this, on a salary paid in shillings?" he asks. The minister calls him to the window.
"See the river over there?"
"Sure," says the senator.
"Can you see the bridge over it?"
The senator looks, is confused -- he doesn't see anything. He peers more closely and says, "No, I don't see any bridge."
"100 percent!" says the minister.
Here's another one, from reader Strategic Discourse, from Pakistan:
Gen. Musharraf is getting a haircut, when all of a sudden the barber asks, "So General, when are you holding elections?" Musharraf is enraged, but he decides to keep quiet, thinking he must've heard something wrong.
The next time he visits the same barber, and during a haircut, the barber asks, once again, "So president, when are we having elections?" Musharraf is mighty pissed, but decides to give the barber one last chance.
During the next haircut, however, the barber asks the same question and Musharraf flies into a fit of rage and orders the man to be killed immediately. Just as the guards pull out their guns, the barber falls at Musharraf's feet and pleads, "But sir, I was just doing my job. It's so much easier to cut your hair when it stands on end -- as it does whenever you hear the word ‘election.'"
And, for old times' sake, a Cold War-era gem from Finland, from reader Markku Y, who explains that Finnish President Urho Kekkonen was known for his particularly welcoming attitude toward the Soviets:
Brezhnev once called Kekkonen in the '70s, while Prime Minister Sorsa was sitting next to him.
"Da, da, da, da, da, da, njet, da, da, da, da," said Kekkonen during the phone call.
After Kekkonen hung up, Sorsa asked him, surprised and horrified, "What did you say ‘njet' to?"
"He asked if I ever got tired of saying ‘da'!"
As always, we can't get enough of these, so please continue to post more in the comments section and we promise to run the best in our Jan/Feb issue of the magazine.
Yesterday, we asked for jokes that moved beyond the bounds of Brezhnev's Russia. And so you gave us ... Hungary.
From reader Nicholas19, one from a land whose very name is a pun:
day, all the leading politicians in Hungary are going on a trip by bus, when
the bus crashes into a ditch near a farm. The next day the police arrive to
question the farmer.
"Where are the politicians?" the policeman asks.
Says the farmer, "I buried them all."
"Were they dead?"
"Well, some of them claimed to be alive, but I don't believe a word they say!"
And from Holland, from reader Dolf, who explains helpfully: "True, this joke is funnier if you're Dutch. The fourth of May is Remembrance Day, the fifth of May is Liberation Day."
A German walks into a bar in Holland and says to the barkeeper: "It sure is quiet today."
"Well," says the barkeeper, "that's because today is the 4th of May."
"So what is it about the 4th of May?" asks the German.
Says the barkeeper: "On this day we remember the hundreds of thousands of deaths due to the Second World War."
The German:"Hundreds of thousands? Man, we had millions of deaths in that war!"
"Right" says the barkeeper, "but that, we celebrate tomorrow."
Tomorrow -- Bulgaria? Estonia? We can't wait -- but please, continue to send.
AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
We're continuing our jokes drive for our political humor package in the next print issue. And judging from the response so far, you guys find the former Soviet Union absolutely hilarious. Here are slightly edited versions of the best two jokes from the last bunch, from readers TRANSTRIST and MATT THE BADGER:
A Soviet citizen goes to the Red Square with the sign "Brezhnev is a senile idiot." Immediately he gets picked up by the KGB and sentenced to 12 years in jail -- two for insulting the head of state and 10 for exposing a state security secret.
A Pole walking along the road happens to spy a lamp. He picks it up, and as it is covered in rust he gives it quick rub. Out comes a genie.
"I'm the genie of the lamp and I can grant you three wishes," the genie says.
"OK," says the Pole. "I want the Chinese Army to invade Poland." Odd choice, the genie thinks, but nevertheless he grants the wish, and the Chinese Army comes all the way from China, invades, and goes back home.
"Right, second wish. Maybe something more positive," says the genie.
"No," replies the Pole, "I want the Chinese Army to invade again." So the Chinese come all the way from China, lay waste to more of Poland, and then go home.
"Listen," says the genie. "You have one last wish. I can make Poland the most beautiful and prosperous place on earth."
"If you don't mind, I want the Chinese army to invade one more time." So the Chinese army comes again, destroys what's left of Poland, and then goes home for the last time.
"I don't understand," says the genie. "Why did you want the Chinese army to invade Poland three times?"
"Well," replies the Pole, "they had to go through Russia six times."
At FP, we love a good Brezhnev joke -- but where are the jokes from India? Kenya? Mexico? Belgium? We know they're out there -- so please send them to us.
Last week, we put out a call for political jokes from our farflung readers. The results were, well, mixed, but we did get this one gem from reader DUNNAM04:
Three teams of astronauts, an American team, a German team, and a Serbian team, are sent on an exploratory mission to one of Jupiter's moons. After a safe landing, the three teams suit up and step out onto the surface. They soon begin to quarrel over which nation gets to lay claim to this moon.
One of the Americans declares, "I hereby claim this moon as property of the U.S.A. If it were not for our heavy investment in space travel this trip would not have happened!"
One of the Germans then declares, "Nein! This moon shall belong to Deutschland! It was our scientists and physicists who made this possible!"
One of the Serbians then draws a gun from his spacesuit and shoots his fellow Serbian, who collapses dead onto the rocky surface.
He yells, "Serbian blood has been drawn here! This moon belongs to SERBIA!!!
We still want more -- and as an added bonus, if you send us a really good one, we may publish it in the next print issue of FP. So if you're sitting on a really great political joke from overseas, post in the comments section and we'll keep publishing them here and in print.
Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images
In the next issue of FP, we're publishing a group of articles on political humor around the world, ranging from funny-ha-ha to self-protective sarcasm to subtly subversive irony. Not surprisingly, this has been a lot of fun to work on, and we wanted to invite you, our readers, to join in. We're inviting you to send us your political jokes from around the world. Submit in the comments section, and we'll publish our favorites when we post the rest of the stories. To kick things off, here's a classic from Communist Romania:
The Americans sent a CIA agent to Romania to shoot the dangerous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The agent arrives in the country, finds the dictator addressing a large crowd, picks up his sniper rifle… and can't shoot. He raises it again… and can't shoot. A final time, he lifts the gun, but he just can't do it. When he returns home to report to his supervisor about the failure of his mission, the chief asks what happened. "Well," the agent said. "Each time, it started out great: I had a clean shot, I was ready to go -- and then the crowd saw what I was about to do and started chanting: Shoot him, shoot him, shoot him!"
GERARD FOUET/AFP/Getty Images
This week's list collects the best recent nonfiction about one of the most complex and misunderstood countries in the world, from Fatima Bhutto, niece of Benazir Bhutto and author of the forthcoming Songs of Blood and Sword.
Mubashir Hasan, Mirage of Power
Dr. Hasan is a national treasure -- a founding member of the Pakistan People's Party (in its original, leftist socialist form), former finance minister, founding member of the Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy, and a committed social activist. This book offers a rare insight into the power of the Pakistani civil and military establishment during its first democratically elected government, and takes apart the International Monetary Fund and its debt dealings with Pakistan, among many other hobgoblins.
This Pakistani newspaper takes no prisoners, most of the time. The News took out full page ads against the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship, prints front page salvos every time the current Asif Ali Zardari government attacks the media and comes out with a new censorship initiative, has the best reporting from the northern fronts of the country in the form of brave and thorough journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, and doesn't let political politeness or friendships get in the way of their work. When the News is good, and allowed to operate freely, it's really, really good.
Tariq Ali, The Duel
Pakistan and America's dirty relationship archived by Pakistan's foremost historian and political commentator. You don't get much better than Ali when it comes to the murky waters of Pakistani politics.
Granta Magazine issue 112
The respected journal does a Pakistan issue, out in September. Fresh essays from Pakistani novelists, poets, and journalists with a few honorary Pakistanis in the mix. Daniyal Mueenudin, Kamila Shamsie, and more. Should be hard to find the words "most dangerous country on earth" -- hopefully.
Basharat Peer, Curfewed Night
Understanding Kashmir is central to understanding Pakistan, the horrors of Partition, and the country's relationship with India today. Peer, himself Kashmiri, chronicles life under the most militarized zone in the world. His writing is courageous, his style part memoir part reportage, and his politics passionate and critically argued -- a must-read for anyone interested in South Asia.
UNESCO is set to decide today on what has become a bitter and controversial election for its new director-general. Irina Gueorguieva Bokova, the Bulgarian ambassador to France, and Farouk Hosni, the Egyptian culture minister, are the two remaining candidates after an inconclusive fifth round of voting yesterday.
Farouk Hosni was the clear leader going into voting last week, but hasn’t been able to cinch the 30 votes from the UNESCO board to win -- probably because UNESCO nations are reluctant to elect someone who said, famously, that he would “burn Israeli books” if he found them in Egyptian libraries. If the vote ties today, it may literally come down to a draw, with the candidates’ names written down and pulled out of a bag -- a little-known UNESCO statute that’s never been put to the test in 64 years.
To read more about the background of the vote, check out Raymond Stock’s article for FP explaining why on earth someone who’s called for the burning of books would even make it as far as culture minister.
Update: In a major upset, Bukova has won becoming UNESCO's first female director general.
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