“Help me, sister”

The BBC’s Russian service has run the story of a young man from Kostroma, an old Russian city 185 miles northeast of Moscow, who was charged with insulting a government official for calling Putin a “thief” and a “miserable crook” at a public rally in 2012. He fled to the Netherlands and was granted political asylum.

Unfortunately, his troubles did not stop there: he’s been charged with a number of speech crimes, as it were, in the Hague. His antics, harmless as they seem to me, must have gone beyond the Dutch pale of political correctness. Moreover, the BBC reveals that in March 2017, the activist fell ill with flu-like symptoms, which grew worse, included loss of consciousness, and peaked in late June. In July, the doctors finally realized that he had gone through the acute phase of the Lyme disease.

In working with a number of patients with Lyme/tick-borne diseases it is apparent to many clinicians these conditions can cause reduced frustration tolerance, irritability, depression, cognitive impairments and mood swings, but more significantly, in a few patients, suicidal and aggressive tendencies.

Now, here’s the little detail that struck me the most in Ruslan Lebusov’s story:

He was accepted to the school of law [of the Free University of Amsterdam]: he passed the English and Dutch exams himself but copied his math exam from an Iranian [girl or woman], saying: “Help me, sister, I don’t understand sh-t about it.”

I’ve read that Iranian women are doing their best to get a good education, especially in the hard science and technical disciplines, which are both in demand and unpolluted by ayatollic excrement. I also know that the only female Fields medalist to date was of Iranian origin. But it’s still stereotype-shattering when a Russian guy asks an Iranian girl for help with a math exam.

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