Sunday, 28 October 2012

Attempted assassination of a 14-year-old girl: In the name of Islam?

“If Malala had been killed in a drone attack, you would not hear her medical status update, neither would she be called "daughter of the nation"; and neither would the media make a fuss. Neither would General Kiyani come to visit nor would the world media criticise and repeatedly report on it. This I'm afraid is the bitter truth of the matter.”
                                                                                      (Author unknown)

Despite being enemies, it seems the Taliban and the Americans have something fundamental in common: intolerance. Both advocate killing innocent people when they do not concur with them; the attempted execution of Malala Yousafzai and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and his family members have the same underlying theme of intolerance.  The Americans want to impose western liberal democracy and the Taliban want to impose a draconian (literal) version of Islamic law where there is no room for differences. What do the ordinary masses want in Pakistan or any other Muslim country? Apart from economic security and political stability, they want a society where there is room for dialogue and discussion - freedom of expression within sensible boundaries.

As for the attempted execution of a 14-year-old girl, a soft target by any standards and no doubt a cowardly act, there are two pertinent issues; the Taliban ideology and the media duplicity.  

On the latter, the media duplicity is obvious, the selective outrage sparked by an attack one teenager (Malala Yousafzai), yet there is total silence on the many faceless and nameless Pakistanis killed and maimed by the American drones over the last decade. The issue has nothing do with compassion for Malala; the undue international media coverage is entirely political, another point scored in construing the problem of militant Islam and Pakistan’s failure to deal with it.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Exit from Afghanistan

The Macedonians, Arabs, Persians, British, Russians have come and gone and now the Americans are preparing to do the same.

The infamous Bagram Air Base, known as the Guantanamo bay of Afghanistan or the Abu Ghraib of Iraq, where the Americans were ‘interrogating’ prisoners employing methods that can only be described as torture has been handed to the Afghan government; these are signs building up towards an American exit that is scheduled for December 2014 that started in 2001 following the events of 9/11.

With the rise of violence from 2006 onwards, particularly the “green on blue” attack is the exit represents the American-led mission a complete failure or it constitutes a calculated withdrawal from Afghanistan having met the objectives. The truth I believe lies somewhere in between, the withdrawal has been hastened by the economic crisis within the US as debts mount up, and elimination of Usamah Bin Laden and other leading members have more or less crippled the Taliban and remnants of Al-Qaeda has vanished from that part. Many of the Taliban are living across the border.

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