Last week, I saw a headline that interested me: “Bahrain lawmaker burns Israeli flag in parliament.” I thought, Great — but could he burn a Bahraini flag? Where would that land him? What’s the Arabic word for “gulag” again?
I also thought of a Cold War joke — one that Reagan liked to tell. An American and a Russian are arguing about freedom in their respective countries. The American says, “Look, I can march outside the White House and say, ‘Down with Reagan!’ Nothing will happen to me.” The Russian says, “Big deal. I can march outside the Kremlin and say, ‘Down with Reagan!’ — and nothing will happen to me either.”
I tell all this in Impromptus today. And a reader writes, “Hang on, is it legal to have an Israeli flag in Bahrain? If not, can the guy be prosecuted for it? Where’d he get it? Did he purchase it or was it slipped to him? Who were his collaborators?”
Our reader has a much sharper reporter’s mind than I do.