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Afghanistan

The evil inside Omar Mateen

Monday, 13 June, 2016 0 Comments

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains … an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.” — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

Omar Mateen


The Afghan Girl of our time is a Yazidi

Thursday, 14 August, 2014 0 Comments

At the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1984, National Geographic Society photographer Steve McCurry captured an image of Sharbat Gula that became known as “the First World’s Third World Mona Lisa.”

Afghan Girl

Today’s Afghan Girl is a young member of persecuted Yazidi sect. Youssef Boudlal of Reuters found her at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour. The wheel turns, but the refugees keep filling those camps.

Yazidi girl


The bullet came before the ballot

Friday, 4 April, 2014 0 Comments

AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was shot dead this morning while reporting on tomorrow’s presidential poll in Afghanistan. Her images of the country’s people and poverty, rituals, fears, pride and barbarity fill the viewer with hope and despair.

Anja Niedringhaus


Afghanistan 1977: Haven of Peace and Tranquility

Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 0 Comments

Reuters: “Afghanistan accused Pakistan’s intelligence service on Monday of staging last week’s attack on a hotel in Kabul in which nine people including foreigners were shot dead by militants.”

CNN: “The number of people killed when militants stormed an election commission office in the Afghan capital Tuesday has risen to five, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said.”

That’s how it is today in Afghanistan, but if we go back to 1977, we find the country’s national airline, Ariana, transporting passengers to a promised land of peace and tranquility. All that ended on 25 December 1979 when Soviet Airborne Forces landed in Kabul. Two days later, KGB and GRU operatives dressed in Afghan uniforms occupied major military and media buildings, attacked the Tajbeg Presidential Palace and killed President Hafizullah Amin. Within two weeks, Soviet forces in Afghanistan exceeded 100,000 personnel. What followed was a decade of barbarism, followed by retreat and the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Ariana is flying again, but peace and tranquility remain a mirage for Afghanistan.

Ariana


The silence of the imams

Tuesday, 10 September, 2013 1 Comment

Students of contemporary barbarism should take note of what happened to customers at the Village restaurant in Mogadishu on Saturday. Here’s the BBC report: “The Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it bombed a popular restaurant in the capital Mogadishu, killing 15 people… Run by Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who returned to the country from the UK in 2008, it was targeted by two suicide bombers last September in attacks that killed 14 people.”

As word of this appalling crime seeped out, Pope Francis was holding a “Syria peace vigil” in Rome attended by 100,000 people. “May the noise of weapons cease!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace — it is always a defeat for humanity.” He didn’t mention the murdered Mogadishu diners directly, but he cannot be faulted for this because no imam did, either. These authority figures in the Islamic world are usually vociferous when it comes to condemning the decadence and crimes of the “West”, but they tend to be very shy about the horrific crimes being committed in the name of their own faith. And the body count from those faith killings is shocking.

In Iraq, some 4,000 people have been killed by rival Sunni and Shi’a gangs so far this year. The pot of sectarian hatred is being stirred by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is also heavily involved in the savage Syrian civil war. It has invested heavily in the notion of an embattled Alawite regime led by Assad battling a radicalized Sunni opposition of al-Qaida terrorists because this legitimizes Teheran’s interference. Meanwhile, Turkey’s government is adding fuel to the sectarian fire, as rumors circulate that Ankara is pressing for a Sunni majority Syrian government if Assad falls. One does not need a vivid imagination to picture the butchery that would follow, should this ever be the case.

Forgotten in this gruesomeness is that fact that the Taliban have killed more than 1,300 men, women and children so far this year with car bombs, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As if that wasn’t enough, Muslims are also murdering Muslims in Pakistan, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and the silence of the imams and mullahs regarding this carnage is deafening. Finally, there’s Yemen: “Kuwaitis have called for stringent action against a family in Yemen after their eight-year-old daughter died of internal injuries on the first night of her arranged marriage to a man more than five times her age.”

A mosque


On the uses of drones

Friday, 6 September, 2013 0 Comments

According to the Reuters news agency, a suspected US drone killed at least six terrorists in Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal region on the Afghan border. Hardly any fair-minded person would think that this is unjust, given the crimes committed by the region’s gangsters, yet there is considerable opposition to drone warfare. The United Nations has condemned US drone strikes in Pakistan, saying that they violate the country’s sovereignty. The UN, of course, ignores the fact that the Pashtun region is an infamous sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaeda thugs. Heard of Waziristan? “These proud and independent people have been self-governing for generations, and have a rich tribal history that has been too little understood in the West,” said a person called Bill Emmerson, who bears the ludicrous title of “UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism”. Inevitably, not a word was heard from Bill Emmerson about the Taliban murdering Indian writer Sushmita Banerjee in southeastern Afghanistan earlier this week.

But back to drones. The really cool thing about this clip is that it was filmed by a drone, in one continuous shot, flying around the French band, Phoenix. Founded in Versailles, the group consists of Thomas Mars, Deck d’Arcy, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz. They became rich and famous in 2004 when their track “Too Young” was featured on the soundtrack of Lost in Translation, which was directed by Sofia Coppola. A romantic after-effect saw the same Sofia Coppola marry Thomas Mars in 2011 at her family’s villa at Bernalda in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. By the way, Phoenix will co-headline the Austin City Limits Music Festival next month, alongside the Kings of Leon, Wilco and Depeche Mode.


Bradley Manning gets what he wanted, kind of

Wednesday, 31 July, 2013 0 Comments

“I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much,” wrote Private First Class Bradley Manning in an online chat with a confidante three years ago about leaking military secrets. He has been spared execution, but the prison part of his wish is going to come true.

Those who claim that Manning deserves some kind of “whistleblower” pardon or prize sound every bit as deluded as the perp himself. He was unaware of the nature of much of what he handed over to the alleged rapist Julian Assange, and when he did know, it was often personal information about troops on the ground. That the US military would entrust secrets to imbeciles like Manning is one of the most disturbing things about the entire case.

By the way, it is journalists and other civilians whose right to speech is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, not soldiers. Bradley Manning stole 700,000 documents. He is no whistleblower.


Michael Adebolajo: The enthusiastic fundamentalist

Thursday, 23 May, 2013 0 Comments

On Saturday, 3 November 2001, the Al-Jazeera network, without demur, broadcast a rallying cry to the Muslim world that had just been issued by Osama bin Laden. “This war is fundamentally religious,” he declared. “The people of the East are Muslims. They sympathized with Muslims against the people of the West, who are the crusaders.” As the leader of al-Qaeda rambled on, alert listeners were struck by the attention he devoted to the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia. Quote:

“Let us examine the stand of the West and the United Nations in the developments in Indonesia when they moved to divide the largest country in the Islamic world in terms of population.

This criminal, Kofi Annan, was speaking publicly and putting pressure on the Indonesian government, telling it: You have 24 hours to divide and separate East Timor from Indonesia.

Otherwise, we will be forced to send in military forces to separate it by force.

The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores, and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world.”

East Timor, which is Portuguese-speaking and overwhelmingly Catholic, is no more part of the Islamic world than is Ireland, but bin Laden saw its independence as a challenge to his notion of a global Muslim state under a revived caliphate so his disciples responded on 12 October 2002 by killing 202 people (including 88 Australians) in a bombing on the island of Bali. On 19 August 2003, al-Qaeda killed UN diplomat Sérgio Vieira de Mello, along with 20 other members of his staff, in a hotel bombing in Baghdad. His crime? He had negotiated the independence of East Timor.

The perverted moral of the story was that if you dared challenge bin Laden’s umma, the price was indiscriminate slaughter on a grand scale.

Michael Adebolajo: The enthusiastic fundamentalist In his 3 November 2001 tour d’horizon, the psychopathic leader of al-Qaeda mentioned a country that is now very much at the centre of the investigation into the barbarity displayed yesterday in London by Michael Adebolajo. Referring to the West’s plan to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, he said, “Mass demonstrations have spread from the farthest point in the eastern part of the Islamic world to the farthest point in the western part of the Islamic world, and from Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan to the Arab world and Nigeria and Mauritania.”

And there it is: Nigeria. One of those who hacked Drummer Lee Rigby to death on a London street yesterday is Michael Adebolajo, a British citizen of Nigerian descent who became infatuated with Islamic extremism as a schoolboy. “This war is fundamentally religious,” said Osama bin Laden in 2001. The monster would be proud of his blood-stained, cleaver-wielding enthusiastic fundamentalist.


Geronimo

Thursday, 14 February, 2013 0 Comments

And the Best Actress Oscar goes to Jessica Chastain for her performance in Zero Dark Thirty as a CIA agent ferociously fixated on finding the courier bringing messages to Osama bin Laden’s lair. The director-writer team of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal have made an enthralling chronicle of the hunt that ended in Pakistan on […]

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Punishing the adulterer Petraeus

Thursday, 22 November, 2012 0 Comments

This is a tricky one for Western jurists (and journalists) because they are divided as to whether adultery is a crime or a sin or a lifestyle choice. From a Shariah point of view, it’s simple: He should be stoned to death. Well, that’s what the Taliban say, and they have form in these matters […]

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Mentioning the “c” word

Friday, 21 September, 2012

As security forces in many Muslim countries are gearing up for a day of protests against the amateur film, Innocence of Muslims, the government of Pakistan has declared a “special day of love” for the Prophet Muhammad, and Pakistani TV is showing President Barack Obama condemning the film in ads paid for by Washington. Time […]

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