Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dying for Love in Afghanistan

It's been eight years since coalition forces "liberated" Afghanistan. Here's the result: Taleban 'kill love affair couple'.
Mr Azad said: "An unmarried young boy and an unmarried girl who loved each other and wanted to get married had eloped because their families would not approve the marriage."

Officials said the couple were traced by militants after they tried to go to Iran. They were made to return to their village in Khash Rod district. [Nimroz province, south-west Afghanistan - see map]

"Three Taleban mullahs brought them to the local mosque and they passed a fatwa (religious decree) that they must be killed. They were shot and killed in front of the mosque in public," the governor said. ...

Extrajudicial "honour killings" have been widely carried out in Afghanistan since then by conservative families angered by a relative who has brought them shame - usually by refusing to marry a chosen partner.

The Taleban have widened their influence over the past three years and now control many remote districts where there are not enough coalition forces to establish a permanent presence.
The people of Afghanistan should make up their own minds about whether this sort of behavior is tolerable. We cannot do it for them. As long as the country is semi-united in repulsing foreign invaders it will put off the social reforms that could bring it into the 21st century.

It's time to leave and let them face up to, and solve, their own internal problems. No people in the world would tolerate a foreign army from a different culture coming in and telling them how to behave—even if they suspected that their behavior was immoral.

Imagine that the USA was invaded and conquered by a European army who insisted that gays be allowed to marry, socialized medicine is begun, the metric system is imposed, proportional representation becomes the law, and capital punishment is abolished. Would those changes be welcomed by Americans who all of a sudden recognize that the foreigners are correct? Or would the changes be resisted even more fiercely because advocating change means siding with the enemy?

[Hat Tip: Pharyngula]


  1. Spot on analysis, Larry. Some of us in the West have this notion that if only people were free to do as they choose, they would naturally do the same as us. That's bollocks, pure and simple. We've 'given' democracy to Afghanistan, and now we have to live with the fact that what many Afghans want is a fairly conservative interpretation of Islam.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is precisely why 'moderate' religion is so bad; we legitimize moderate faith, we say that faith is somehow inherently 'good', we ignore the bad parts of our holy books, and then we act surprised when those who do not share our moderate point of view act on what their holy books actually SAY; all thanks to the fact that we so cherish the exemption that religious faith has been given from critical analysis.

    If you're Christian or Jewish, and have ever ignored Deuteronomy and Leviticus, don't act so outraged when the Fred Phelps' of the world don't. If you're a Muslim who truly believes in equality of women and also in the inerrency of the Koran, don't act so surprised when rape is legitimized inside of marriage.

  2. Larry said

    "Imagine that the USA was invaded and conquered by a European army . . ."

    Imagine that the USA was invaded and conquered by Canada and became the United States of Canada; the stars could be replaced with maple leaves.