As a rule, political journalists should avoid writing about countries they haven’t visited. It’s impossible to cover a story properly unless you’ve actually witnessed its effects, in some fashion, at first hand. Otherwise, you miss the essential, granular details that mark one place out from another.

In this instance, however, I’m willing to make an exception, because the story in question is so absurd – and so criminally underplayed by the international media – that I’m finding it increasingly difficult to ignore.

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