Saturday, April 26, 2008

And it's one, two, three...

...what are we fighting for?

Meet Sayed Pervez Kambaksh. He's a young Afghan student journalist on death row in Mazar-i-Sharif for downloading and distributing a report from the Internet that was critical of the treatment of women in some Islamic societies. His trial lasted four minutes. Blasphemy, says the regime that our troops are dying to defend. Even before the judicial process was exhausted, the Afghan Senate endorsed the death penalty for the young man (since retracted).

And this isn't an anomaly. A draft law now before the Afghan Parliament will restore many of the old Tali-bans--no long hair for men, no makeup for women, no pigeon-flying, no men and women talking together in public, no loudspeakers, no "anti-Islamic" programming (in anticipation, two popular soap operas from India have already been banned by the government). Prime Minister Hamid Karzai appointed a religious fundamentalist to head Afghanistan's Supreme Court, and another one as Minister of Information and Culture--the one who just banned the soap operas, a charming fellow who thinks that journalists are more dangerous than the Taliban.

Say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss. Only this time, Canadian soldiers are part of the palace guard. Too bad their duties aren't merely ceremonial.

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