Saudi Arabia, which beheads, publicly flogs, & crucifies dissidents & legally defines atheists as terrorists, has been chosen to head a UN panel which selects officials to formulate human rights standards & monitor violations internationally. Earlier this year they tried to assume leadership of the entire 47-member UN Human Rights Council but lost.

Many marvel at the insanity of this & there is widespread objection. But in its own way it makes perfect sense. Who else would the UN select to head it up? The US with its Guantanamo, other torture prisons & many wars? Russia, which is bombing hospitals in Syria? Mexico, which has killed over 100,000 civilians in the past several years & is now shooting at unarmed striking teachers? Kenya, which is shooting down unarmed students? China, with the legacy of Tiananmen Square? Apartheid Israel? God forbid, the UK? Almost all 47 members have extensive criminal rap sheets.

Marx is famous for the aphorism that ‘history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce.’ Neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, preempts irony with the damnation that it’s now impossible to distinguish between the two.