Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Primitive Drone Attack in Boston

I can imagine the Afghans in Kabul saying:‘Get a small taste of your drones’ , as they look at the images of the Boston bombings on television. In their minds, the marathon maybe the equivalent of the Afghan wedding celebrations that gets bombed, the perpetrators were targeting American terrorists hiding among civilians thus inflicted collateral damage. If you want to know how others feel, put yourself in their shoes is the proverb. It is amusing to see the frenzied Americans pouncing on anyone who remotely looks like an Arab or a Muslim as a suspect. A Saudi national was already identified by the media mob, who in reality turned to be one of the victims; the lessons of Oslo and Oklahoma have already become distant memories. 
I can imagine the Afghans in Kabul saying

You hear the media scream “innocent civilians”! The crusader brigades led by the likes of Mr Erik Rush at Fox News have already pronounced the contradictory edict: “Muslims are evil, kill them all”. Isn’t the act of killing everyone, which would include women and children, the epitome of evil? If Mr Erik Rush was intelligent enough to prod, he would see that many fellow conservatives around Fox News privately view him with a level of disdain, due to his mixed racial heritage; but coolies are useful as colonial British found out in India. His tweeter feeds are full of expletives, a male version of Pam Geller, spewing out hate and zero content; this reflects the crass nature of the American conservatives wrapped up in ignorance.

If the outrage is caused by the innocence of civilians, then lets us be frank and ask: “are the American civilians genuinely innocent or are they collateral damage like the Afghans?” If it is the latter then there is no grounds to register any complaints; otherwise, one has to compare their innocence with the innocence of Afghan civilians. And unlike the elected drone-killer, Obama, the Afghans did not elect the Taliban, nor did they invite the Americans. It is only fair to hold the civilians complicit, in relation to their role of electing and authorising the actions of their respected governments. No contest here, the Americans being a democracy wins! They continue to elect leaders and permit them to pursue illegal wars, extra-judicial killings, and victims often include women and children; surely the American civilians should understand and expect that there will be similar retaliation in kind. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Do Female Rulers help to promote Gender Equality or Women’s Rights?

With the death of Margaret Thatcher, the old question comes to mind: why has no other female followed in her footsteps in the UK? Why she didn’t inspire other females? Did womankind turn on her or has the country run out of talented females? I think that is unlikely. When Margaret Thatcher won the election, I recall the chauvinistic jibes; like the Alf Garnet character, some argued that she is really a man in disguise in that her character, psyche and personality is essentially male, but her hormones went towards the other direction and gave her female organs and appearance.

It must have been awful for her husband to hear this type of comment. Spitting Image, the satire on TV, conveyed the impression that he was largely confined to Thatcher’s harem. Perhaps if he had done something interesting, like adultery or file for divorce, then the press would have given him greater media coverage.  And the few times he appeared on the media, he had a fixed morbid expression; it made me wonder, was this due to his marriage or his nature. Regardless, he is due some credit; there was activity in the bedroom, and the couple produced healthy children. The Imam in me says MashaAllah, and the ethnic part of me says “shabbash”, loosely translated as “well done”.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Historical Milestones of Afghanistan - Part 1, The Pashtun Identity and the Durand Line

In order to comprehend the politics and the complexity of the various forces that shapes the current Afghan nation, it is necessary to examine the historical milestones along with the economic infrastructure, and the composition of the major influential tribes distinguished by linguistic and religious affiliations: Pashtun, Uzbek, Hazara, Tajik, Aimaq, Turkoman, Baloch and other smaller tribes. I intend to produce a series of articles that will seek to analyse these factors. The primary objective is to give an overview, so that those who are not familiar with the region get acquainted with the basic facts rapidly, and one can refer to other scholarly materials for further in-depth analysis. 

I am less interested in ancient history, as the evidence is scant for such material, and less relevant to the current situation. Nor do I think it is necessary to cover the events chronologically, which can be dull, and readers will be more interested to get familiar with the current events via which the history is introduced.
From the media coverage, everyone knows the Taliban as a militant group that took control of Afghanistan, from the ashes of the civil war that followed the Soviet exit. They were trained and organised in Pakistan, with a view of bringing stability; they seized power in 1996 until ousted by the Americans through the post 9/11 invasion. The Taliban gave refuge to Al-Qaeda fighters, who are largely made up of Muslims from the Arab and central Asian region, led by the charismatic Usamah Bin Laden, whose history goes back to the Russian invasion in 1979.  The loose alliance with the Al-Qaeda meant they shared similar viewpoint; the outside world view them as fanatical, intolerant, misogynist, literalist, rejection of western values including imperialism (or ‘trade’). However, unlike the fighters from Al-Qaeda, many of the Taliban are far less educated in the conventional sense.  The subject of the rise of Taliban and the Al-Qaeda will be analysed further in a future article.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Afghanistan and the Triple 'Entente'

 Unless the Taliban are drawn into the political process, they will continue to pose a challenge to the Karzai government, and this is likely to escalate after US forces leave the country in 2014; they may even succeed in seizing power reigniting another civil war. The major players are Pakistan and the US with India being the third minor party; Pakistan has influence via the Taliban, India has a relationship with the Northern Alliance (formed by the non-Pashtun tribes to counter the dominant Pashtun based Taliban), and the US has its interest along with its military might.

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