The 2014 Domino Awards (International Division)
It's time for the sixth annual Domino Awards named for the Kooky Khast of Kharacters from my teenage years around the domino table. These included Dessie, the domino star and pack leader; his brother, The Dunce, who, as a child, fell from a tree and hit his head.
Thereafter, he lived in his own happy-go-lucky world with his mantra, "if a macca, mek it jook yu", advertising his stress-free existence; Dr S. Blanc, a UWI maintenance worker who called himself 'Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Domino'; his partner, 'Jimmy Hunchback', who was simultaneously the worst and the luckiest domino player in the world; and The Beast, who got his name by liking my sister from afar but being too timid to do anything to make her his 'Beast' (it's a time warp thing; you'd have had to have been there). The Beast was the dependable one. Once Gene Autry and I needed a game, The Beast was an automatic third.
This week's Domino Awards are for international achievement. Next week, the highly anticipated local winners will be revealed.
Spoiler alert! These awards, like the entire Tuesday column series, are predominantly intended to be humorous. A well-developed sense of humour is required in order to appreciate what follows. But, as a close friend constantly reminds me, 'sense' is a prerequisite to a sense of humour. If you suspect you lack either ingredient, you won't enjoy this column. Avert your eyes immediately to avoid harm to delicate sensibilities.
The (International) Dunce Award: This year, a special Dunce Award goes to the US Department of State's SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA (SIV) PROGRAMME for Iraqi and Afghan translators instrumental in saving hundreds of US soldiers' lives in dual wars to which the USA invited itself.
The SIV programme was intended to protect these translators from terrorist reprisals after US troops withdrew by making it easy for their entire families to migrate to the US. Instead, in 2011, the programme issued only three visas to Afghan translators from an authorised total of 1,500. In 2014, more than 2,000 visas were made nominally available, but it takes upwards of four years picking your way through an unbelievable maze of bureaucracy and paperwork for these translators to be considered for visas. When applicants struggle with the paperwork, the State Department blames them for delays.
After the Vietnam War, the US settled 140,000 refugees in four months. They were immediately transported to Guam (a.k.a. 'safety') where the processing was then commenced.
The very best commentary on this iconic idiocy was broadcast by Daily Show alumnus John Oliver on his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight (view here: http://www.vox.com/2014/10/20/7014137/john-oliver-translator-visa-shamef...).
There's no better example of stupidity in action than SIV's performance, which says to Iraqi and Afghan translators, "If a macca, mek it jook yu ... ."
The (International) Dunce Move of the Year Award:
DONALD TRUMP, the man who insisted he wasn't racist because an African-American won 'The Apprentice', deserves a lifetime Dunce Award but, in a year packed with deserving nominees, can only win the Dunce Move award for his public rants on Twitter blaming President Obama for bringing Ebola to New York.
Trump, the non-racist, has hounded President Obama relentlessly with similarly inane proclamations from the day the president became a candidate, including persistently asking to inspect his birth certificate to ensure it was real. Good thing for him President Obama didn't make the same request regarding Trump's hair. All I can say to The Donald is, "If a macca, mek it jook yu ... ."
The International Personality of the Year: DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (DWB) receives the second consecutive collective award for courageous efforts on the West African front lines fighting Ebola. The award is given to DWB on behalf of all health-care workers risking their lives in the region to fight the disease, but it's DWB who epitomise the type of selfless dedication to decency that keeps the world civilised. As an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS goes where angels fear to tread helping people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care. The good news is, Dr Craig Spencer, a DWB member who became infected and was treated in New York City (the same patient Donald Trump blamed President Obama for allowing into America) is now Ebola free after high-calibre treatment at HHC Bellevue Hospital Centre.
Let's hope Cuban doctors who've rushed to West Africa for the identical humanitarian purpose receive similar treatment.
Peace and love.
n Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.