Beset with an incompetent, out of touch and an allegedly corrupt President ( referred to as Mr. 10% during the administration of his late wife Benazir Bhutto), an inter-necine religious war and a devastating flood, that affected upwards of 20 million people, Pakistan got a ray of hope when its cricket team won a Test match against England. This "ray"proved to be short-lived however when members of the cricket team were accused of accepting bribes in the next match at Lord's in which they suffereed another humiliating defeat. The "young heroes"had sold out the one good thing that the people could smile about. Only the misery remain............
Sarkozy, the political weasel has used the Burqa and now the Gypsy to bolster his "fall from grace ", and as in the last presidential election in France, outflank the National Front, for the right wing vote. He has taken a page from France's past (the deportation of Jews), to expel the Gypsies from France. Collective punishment was a favorite tool of the Nazis. Hopefully the "silent majority" will see through his scheme and punish him at the polls and restore French honor.
"Democracy didn't bring us anything. Democracy brought us a can of Coke and a beer", says shop owner, Haitham Farham, who has to syeal electricity to run his business. After seven years of death, destruction and disease, Iraq is a glaring failure of America's(Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) attempt at nation-building.
Thousands have died, tens of thousands have been injured, hundreds of thousands have been uprooted and made homeless and tens of billions of dollars have been wasted and/or stolen and for what? Iraq has little or no infrastructure, working hospitals, schools, electricity, sanitation or security. All it has are squabbling politicians and bloodthirsty brutes. As the American withdrawal picks up speed, there is only despair and death.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, but he kept the warring factions of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds (they had been cobbled together by Churchill and the Brits, after Kuwait was severed to serve their purposes), under control. Women had rights and education and worked freely in their chosen profession. Iraq had the most educated population with thriving universities and a vibrant and well-protected culture. It all ended with the illegal war of invasion. There were no weapons of mass destruction but there was an abundance of oil.
50,000 American troops will remain to protect America's investments and to make sure that only a puppet will be in power, of course, after "an election"
Pakistan is on the verge of coming apart. Its inept and corrupt government, its warring regions...Punjab vs, Sind etc. its internecine religious factions...Shia., Sunna, Mohajir etc.and the Taliban and al qaeda, aided and protected by the ISI....make it impossible for any successful or effective governance. At this time of national emergency, caused by massive floods, Zardari is in London "to look in the face of Cameron and tell him of Pakistani sacrifices" in the war on terrorism"......Mr. "10%" prefers to govern from the safety of London.
The continued and widespread troubles in Pakistan will certainly lead to mischief- making in Kashmir and eleswhere. India has to be on the alert, especially as the Commonwealth Games approaches.
Women Rights is Human Rights. The signs are ominous, as talks ($10 Talibs etc.) with the Taliban continues, before the American "drawdown"begins. Karzai is Pashtu and the Tal;iban are Pashtuns. They stoned, raped and in many other ways brutalised the women in the five years they were in power and now they smell victory and their supporters in government, including the Minister of Economy, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal are preparing the way. He is the head of the Hizb-i-Islami and has made it clear that women should not go to school, leave home without a male escort, Shia husbands can withhold money and food from wives who refuse to provide sex, and limited their inheritance and custody of children in case of divorce. Of course they can be killed for dishonoring their family...."honor killing", forced to marry old men...."child brides", and even sold into slavery.
The constitution promotes gender equality and provides for the education for girls and reserves 25% of the seats in parliament for them, but Sharia law take precedent.....Sharia or Islamic law has never been defined and so could lead to radical interpretation.As Minister of Economy and leader of the Hizb-i-Islami put it "Throughout history, constitutions have changed, so we have to be flexible on this",.......the quota for women "makes them lazy". The Taliban denied women education and jobs, forced them to stay indoor, punished them for "infractions". baring an ankle call for a whipping and adultery ( all that is required to condemn a woman is two male witnesses.........see the movie The Stoning of Soraya M. for a gut-wrenching scene of stoning), is punished by stoning. Wearing nail polish or laughing out loud is grounds for a whipping..... Women voices were banned from radio and TV was forbidden and you could not even fly a kite.
40 years ago, in Kabul girls wore jeans to university and women wore mini skirts and Chanel ( I saw her movie last night..a good watch) to parties. Today they fear for the little that they have achieved ......the Taliban used to play football with women's head, in the national stadium. Hilary Clinton's promised them that "We will stand with you always" is not very convincing or reassuring.
Follow me on Twitter
(Fig 2a) The Death of Innocents
Ishwar R. Prashad recently retired from over 47 years of teaching.