By Debbie Menon
THE Pashtu's are perhaps the only logical and perhaps a possible path to "peace" in Afghanistan... if, you perceive "peace" to mean an end to hostilities, particularly hostilities involving foreigners, the US, UN, NATO and the forces of the "willing coalition", a motley collection of US lackeys, in Afghanistan.
Why should the Pashtu's even be considered? Logically, the only option because of their disproportionately high number in comparison to the others, say, the Tajik, Uzbek, etc. Eventually, of course, the US and the "willing coalition" will have to make some accommodation with the Pashtu, as well as the other tribes and peoples, and the fighting will end, for them, for now, and they will call it "peace and a victory for themselves."
The politics and foreign policy of the Taliban movement which emerged in Afghanistan as a consequence of past invasions, was not in accord with Western wishes, and therefore became distasteful to Western political minds, who interpreted and identified the most severe of the fundamentalist's practices of the Taliban, as examples of an undesirable and despicable government. All coins in the American realm have, of course, only one side!
The Taliban movement in Afghanistan, as well as theological government in almost any other place it is found, is hardly different in principle from the Puritan movement in England, the persecution of which inspired the Puritan Pilgrimage to America. It is in principle, that same type of government which we see George Bush and others attempting to establish in the US, although I would suspect that Afghan Taliban are more sincere and faithful in their theological motivation and lack the depths of hypocrisy of the American Puritan Pilgrims and the George Bush neo-Christian Right.
I am sure that Muslim women and Taliban women in particular, do not have all the "freedoms" of some of the women in Western culture, but do we have to look too far to find the pot calling the kettle black? My objection in this aspect is that the black pot is painting and casting the kettle even blacker than it actually is.
As a practicing, Roman Catholic myself, having lived in an Islamic country for 20 years where many women wear the headscarf like the one I wear to church or a funeral, or any Parisian lady of fashion, would wear in London, many also wear a more severe and formal dress, and some wear the full garb. And greater many also wear nothing at all of that nature; I have yet to hear any woman or husband, complain or protest. No one and nothing makes them dress the way they do, except convention, the same determinant behind how me and my sister, or these women in the Islamic world, and anywhere else in the world dress.
Having lived in an Arab country, surely I am aware that most of the Secular Ruling and Leading Religious class crimes against the people are committed out of secular motivation, invoked and enforced by ideological interpretations in contravention of the theological laws.
Yes, the Taliban did punish deviation from the ideological/ theological norms. Women were beaten if they dressed immodestly and men were beaten if they shaved. What would happen in New York if you or I were to perform some severe aberrant violation of American custom? We would be punished according to local law in full glare of the Media cameras! Perhaps by Taliban standards, an inadequate punishment... but then, different strokes for different folks?
Would they want Taliban coming into their countries and advising them on how to punish their thieves, rapists, spousal and child abusers, and murderers? Why should they invite 'us' into theirs to advise them by our standards?
How would they like Taliban to come to their home and tell them how to vote, dress, behave, whether they could go to school or not, and punish them if they missed Church, Synagogue or Mosque at the prescribed times?
If they did not come trying to impose their "odious" ways on Us, What right do we have to go there?
As I recall, one of their greatest crimes was blowing up some ancient statues which they considered offensive to their religious interpretations. Well, it happened in their own country, and they were the sovereign government. Oh, the other big crime was their refusal to come to terms with an offer from UNOCOL and EXXON to build some kind of pipeline from Uzbekistan to Pakistan. Perhaps they refused to accept the bribes and blowback, and offended some important people? But we worked that one out, didn't we, with the current Free and Democratic Government which the people were so happy, with an assist from Us, to vote into office after the Taliban left?
Apply those shoes to some Afghan Taliban they will fit no better on those other feet?
I have read recently about the removal of some religious icons from the Public schools, Federal Court Houses and other Public places in US, and the banning of Religious ritual in Public Places. No one seems to be as excited about those things as they purported to be about the statues. Principle?
As an aside, I might note that in the Muslim country that I lived in, their Municipal Counsels, and Federal Governments, and all local businesses, spend millions of Dirhams each year decorating buildings, markets and Shopping Malls with lights, banners, tinsel, false snow, crucifixes, creches and crosses to celebrate the great Christian event 'Christmas' the birthday of the Christian prophet. They are not allowed to do that in the Great Christian Nation the United States of Ambiguity.
I think the best solution is something like this....
"You leave us alone and we will leave you alone. We can trade and do business if you like (but don't encourage us to go into the poppy agriculture industry because we have traditions which prohibit such trade) and don't tell us how to live, and we will not tell you how to live. And, if you find our ways odious, or if we find your ways odious, then you can leave us alone, and we will get along without your trade, as I am sure you can get along without ours. Just stay home, and don't come over here interfering with us, or we will bring grievous hurt upon you!"
Afghanistan, to me at least, evokes the image of a cowering battered, bruised, bloodied and disheveled woman, chained, and at the mercy of her captors. Perhaps I have too vivid an imagination.
I suspect a lot of this is in Wikipedia. But, then, the writing in Wikipedia is not very exciting, is it!
Back in the days of Marco Polo, which was not his real name, but Western Historians have seldom got such irrelevant facts correct; Anyways, one of the main trade routes then, between East and West ran smack through Afghanistan, up the Khyber Pass and on into Asia. This narrow and arduous passage on such a great and valuable road made Afghanistan an important player in what was then considered the all-important game of World Trade. They were the gatekeepers, and toll collectors, on the Gate between East and West. Whoever controlled them, or their gate, controlled world trade. Considered by most of the "First World" countries, at the time, as ignorant hillbillies who made a living kicking sheep and goats up and down hill all day, they were considered a pushover for domination.
Many countries have tried it over the centuries; some of which no longer exist; but Afghanistan is still there, and most of the "leading" and advanced countries in the world still see them as a backward nation of sheep and goat kickers. Few of them have ever studied why Afghanistan has never, for long, come under the domination of any foreign nation, and have sent so many of them home, tail between their legs with noses bleeding.
Mr Gates has no chance of a military victory or military solution in Afghanistan, no matter how many fellow Ministries of War, and Secretaries he persuades, or how many "Plans" he designs, or how many troops they may throw into this meat-grinder.
It's a fool's game and all this "talk" we hear of plans, persuasions all that sham.... is so much sham. It is all politics and has little to do with what is actually happening, or going to happen in Afghanistan, which is quite obvious, as it has been in every case in the past.
Afghanistan is now the low-cost source for the majority of the illicit drugs traded in the most profitable industry, next to warfare, in the modern world and, as a nation of ignorant hillbillies, they are a sitting duck for any ambitious nation or group who wants to come by and knock them off.
The fact that they lie directly in the path of what some people see as a new trade route for oil and gas, is simply reminiscent of the old days of caravansary and camel glory.
No one has yet figured exactly how a nation of such disorganized and ignorant, backward hillbillies has been able to defeat and repel some of the mightiest nations in the world, but many are still sending armed envoys there to find out.
It seems that no matter how much blood flows in this school, how many bodies fail the course, no one has discovered the secret.
Afghanistan! On one hand, a total failure... on the other, a magnificent victory!
About the author: Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. She can be reached at email@example.com.
... Payvand News - 09/01/08 ... --