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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Freedom curtailed

Afghanistan is a struggling country, a faltering narco-state at the heart of the US "war on terror." Not unlike Iraq, the country is experiencing a strong move towards politics dictated by religious extremism. Case study number one:

"An Afghan appeal court on Wednesday reduced to six months a two-year sentence handed to a women's magazine editor convicted of blasphemy in a trial that prompted an outcry from international media groups.

"Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of the Haqoq-e-Zan (Women's Rights) monthly, was jailed in October and convicted and sentenced weeks later, with conservative Islamic clerics demanding the death penalty.

"The appeal court cut the sentence after the editor apologized for one of the articles in his magazine that questioned an Islamic law that bans conversion to another religion, a court official said."

We can expect similar "blasphemy" charges in Iraq in the coming years as sharia law becomes the norm.

20 Comments:

Blogger Wombat said...

Now listen to the Violets of this world spin this blow to women's rights in Afghanistan as the fault of the war critics and critics of Israel.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 11:16:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Actually what is more interesting is that Anty on one hand recognizes the retrograde nature of political Islam (and indeed Islam has from day one been a political system) when it supports his case that Western actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been disastrous...but when anyone points out Islam's anti-women, anti-gay, and generally anti-freedom characteristics in a different context (and I don't just mean the Violets of this world but more sober commentors as well), they get smacked down with the "R"-word,

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 12:24:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

Actually addamo last month a wonderful Afghani writer and poet, Nadia Anjuman, was beaten to death by her husband. Her crime? She wrote and published a book of poetry, Dark Red Flower.

She left the world her book of poetry and her six-month-old daughter.

Antony is a bit slow with his news updates.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 12:30:00 pm  
Blogger violet said...

Awards shabbydoo the Perception Awardfor this:

but when anyone points out Islam's anti-women, anti-gay, and generally anti-freedom characteristics in a different context , they get smacked down with the "R"-word,


and the Dud Award for this:

(and I don't just mean the Violets of this world but more sober commentors as well)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 12:39:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Yes I can see how you can twist the argument Shab, but the issue really comes down to the hypocrisy of the West, when from an assumption of moral exceptionalism, it purports to be a champion of human rights, when in fact, it uses the slogan only when it is convenient and is just as quick to turn a blind eye to human rights violations otherwise.

Afghanstan and Iraq are two examples of the US pretending to a) give a damn about the local people and b) be improving the living conditions of the locals, when it fact it has achieved or cares about neither.

Like I said before, women's rights are paramount, but they do take a temporary back set when the general population is being rained 500 pound bombs. Let's stop the sanctioned murder and exploitation of these people and then we can get back to focusing on women's rights.

I have a close friend who was making a documentary abtou female circumcision. She has put that on hold because she sees the himanitarian crisees in the Middle East and Sudan as more pressing. She fuly intends to reurn tot he project, but like most people, she has her priorities.

As for AL's news updates Violet, I'm sure we could all produce morsels like the moving story of Nadia Anjuman. For example, you could, if you were the least bit genuine about your empathy towards women, consider the story of al-Hajjah Umm Khattab, a woman who was shot by a US soldier as he entered her home.

The woman asked the officer to wait before entering so that the women in the house could put on their veils and scarves. The officer refused, and he and his troops just burst into the house by force, pushing her aside. She responded by spitting in the officer’s face and insulting him and he shot her four times in the chest, killing her instantly.

No doubt you will take great comfort in the fact that there was no rape involved right Violet?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 1:25:00 pm  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

AL is to be commended for not placing an anti Western spin on this story.

Its simply racist and Western-centric to assume that aggression between people in the third world is always the fault of the West.

In Afghanistan and Sri Lanka many third world people kill each other out of religion and as a traditional way of resolving differences.

US Liberals always blame the President for Not stopping killing between third world groups. Equally the US is accused of meddling in everything.

Attempt's to blame the West for everything simply make it easier for neocons to say - "Our Liberal political opponents are simply unreasonable - we don't need to listen to them because they lack credibility"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 1:50:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

That's a fair argument Spy, but seriously, one would have to go out of their way to cite examples of where the US or the UK has not actively meddled in the affairs of other nations, particualrly when it comes to resource rich lands.

The list is formidable. In the Middle East alone,vitually every country has experience some form of US intervention (overtly or otherwise). Iran was a healthy and preogressive democracy before Mossadegh was overthrown. The House of Saud exists today only because it has received unconditional support fro mthe US, as has the leadership of Jordan and Egypt.

Latin America is too tragic to even consider.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:04:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Latin America is actually quite a mixed bag, depending on the country. For example, I wouldn't throw Costa Rica in the same boat with Nicaragua, even though they're next-door neighbours, would you? And much of the misery there (think Cuba for an ongoing example) was the result of Communism and Soviet aggression.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:21:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

But even if we ignore past US intervention in the region, it's worth pointing out that the Taliban was demonised (and perhaps rightly so) for the human rights abuses that occured under its rule. The US invasion of Afghanistan was justified by the removal of the Taliban. It seems most conservatives would like to pretend that everything is hunky dory in Afghanistan now that the Taliban's gone. Stories like these are worth noting because they expose that myth for what it is.

I'm not saying we shouldn't try and better the lives of people in these countries. But we should recognise that even in an Islamic democracy the people tend to vote for Islamic leaders which just leads to more religious extremism.

Perhaps Islam does need to change, though I can't see any realistic way for that to happen. Frankly I would be stunned if Violet really thinks that all it will take for Islam to change is for enough people to say 'this isn't right'. Religion has a history of changing and adapting, but I'm not aware of any case where a religion changed because external influences demanded it do so.

I don't really know what the answer is, but I think it's important to be realistic and acknowledge that it's not simply a matter of dropping a democracy onto a nation and hey presto everything's flowers and puppy dogs.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:29:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

"And much of the misery there (think Cuba for an ongoing example) was the result of Communism and Soviet aggression."

Cuba was on it's way to independence before the Soviets camea along. The fact that Cuba sought to establish a relatioship with the USSR was not because of Communism so much as the fact that the US was out of the question.

As for Soviet agression in Latin Aemrica, much BS needs to be sorted from reality. Reagan was notorious for his communist paranoya and who could forget his abismal foray into Grenada?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:41:00 pm  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

Isn't this story, in fact, an example of progress?

Afghanis allowing (or perhaps I should say, forced to allow) a Women's Rights magazine, that isn’t scribbled in dirt, to be published within the country.

The conservative clerics haven’t exactly ‘won’ here, with the editor being released from gaol, and this- more important- gem:

Nasab's case was also brought before Afghanistan's Media Monitoring Commission, a government body, which stripped him of the title of chief editor of the magazine but recommended that the blasphemy charges be dropped.

In many ways, this is an imperfect win for reformists within the country.

More examples of (imperfect) victories.

The above link also has a brief snippet on an Afghani Journalist attacked in Canada. That doesn’t mean that Canada is “experiencing a strong move towards politics dictated by religious extremism”

Still more.


Stev: it's worth pointing out that the Taliban was demonised (and perhaps rightly so)

Perhaps?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:47:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Check your facts re: Grenada, what the Russkies were up to there, and Reagan's communist "paranoia" in general. To go back to Afghanistan, remember that under his predecessor's watch, the Soviets rolled in the tanks (as they had in an awful lot of other places in Eastern Europe and across the world).

Soviet Communist expansionism was not a matter of paranoia, but a matter of reality, but Reagan saw its internal weaknesses and brought the whole rotten stinking evil edifice - yes, that's right, I said evil - down, and for that we can be forever thankful. His relationship with Thatcher during the 1980s to bring down the USSR was on a par with Churchill's relationship with FDR to bring down Naziism.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 4:13:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

Stewie: Unlike just about everyone else in this world, I don't rush to judgement on things I have no personal experience with. So yes, perhaps.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 4:18:00 pm  
Blogger Clumsy Birds said...

Stev, I can respect that.

Although I cant help criticising your logic.

I've had to personal experience with Nazi Germany- at least not firsthand- I still find that period and its supporters disgusting. Should I not rush to judge Hitler?

I’ve had no personal experience travelling in the United States- I still loath the Presidential system.

Etc, etc. do you see what I mean?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 4:29:00 pm  
Blogger Stev said...

I definitely see what you mean. And truthfully I believe that as people we judge something simply by the act of perceiving it. I just think it's important to remember that there is no such thing as an unbiased source.

Can't say I blame you for your criticism, I'm sure it seems folly to avoid judging things one has no personal experience with, particularly when one has as limited personal experience as I do - I just think recognition of the possibility that we're being misled by sources is paramount.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 4:40:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Shabadoo said...
"Check your facts re: Grenad"
Grenada was about as much of a threat to the US and the region as a mozzie is to an elephant. It was to Reagan was Panama was to Bush, a chance to pick on a defenseless nation. It was an utter joke and a disgrace.

Shabadoo said...
"but Reagan saw its internal weaknesses and brought the whole rotten stinking evil edifice - yes, that's right, I said evil - down'

Reagan was a deluded and senile fool who was living out a B grade movie in his head. Communism was imploding nicely without him.

Reagan was a as much of a sock puppet as is Bush. If you want proof, one need only listen to his "ho hum, senile old me" speech he came to light. Half his administration was involved and he had no idea.

The only people who still believe in the Reagan myths are the GOP, the Murdoch press and people who never took down their Rambo posters from the 80’s.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 12:40:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Hmm bad typr there:

It should have read:

Reagan was a as much of a sock puppet as is Bush. If you want proof, one need only listen to his "ho hum, senile old me" speech he made when the Inran Contra affair came to light. Reagans was abel to "saw its internal weaknesses" yet completely blind to the fact taht half his administration was involved in Iran contra and had no idea what was going on.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 1:45:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

"Afghanistan is a struggling country, a faltering narco-state at the heart of the US "war on terror." Not unlike Iraq, the country is experiencing a strong move towards politics dictated by religious extremism."

The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan previously, was not a religious extremist state?

Thursday, January 05, 2006 5:55:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Good point Ibraham.

The democratic falsh in the pan was merely a hickup.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 5:58:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

Addamo_01 said...
" Reagan was a as much of a sock puppet as is Bush. If you want proof, one need only listen to his "ho hum, senile old me" speech he made when the Inran Contra affair came to light. "

No no!! Lalalalalala (covers ears) I don't hear this..He brought down the evil empire!!

Another Peter Sellers "Being There" character. Although a likeable sort, good humour.
Unlike the current piece of sh*t. Someone had the bright idea that he give weekly talks on ...RADIO. What a coup! He's so much better when you don't see his smirking face.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 12:32:00 pm  

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