The war in Afghanistan that is being fought by Canada, the USA and others is a very murky issue.
The grounds for the war was as an act of self-defence by the USA after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The justifications is pretty shaky, but we’re there now, and we’ve toppled a regime, so the question is, when is the war over?
Like the majority of Canadians, I have been unimpressed with the mounting causalities of both civilian and Canadian troops, and the seeming pointlessness of the conflict.
The government is demonstrably corrupt, the Taliban still holds sway over many regions, and WikiLeaks has confirmed that a lot goes on that we don’t know about.
It’s very easy to throw your arms up and say we have no business being there.
But then a story like this comes along and I have to stop.
Taliban militants stoned a young couple to death for adultery after they ran away from their families in northern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.
The woman, Sadiqa, was 20 years old and engaged to another man, said the Kunduz provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raza Yaqoubi. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his wife to run away with her, and the two had holed up in a friend’s house five days ago, said district government head Mohammad Ayub Aqyar.
They were discovered by Taliban operatives on Sunday and stoned to death in front a crowd of about 150 men, Aqyar said.
One hundred and fifty men (notice no women were present) watched, and likely even cheered, as two human beings were beaten to death with rocks.
I’d like to believe that if I were being beaten by thugs with rocks in downtown Vancouver with 150 people around that someone would at least call the police, if not intervene.
Perhaps I’m still questioning pacifism after finishing Hitch-22, but I see this story as a metaphor for what’s happening internationally. My honest first reaction to this story, after recoiling from the brutality of it, was that it justified our staying their to help establish peace, security and fundamental human rights.
Human rights are being abused in Afghanistan (and many other countries), and just like that young couple, no one is willing to step in and stop the madness.
Of course the objections come quick. “Who are you to intervene in a foreign country’s internal affairs?” “What right do you have?” etc.
This shallow morality and extremist cultural relativism is beginning to frustrate me. We would not tell a child who stopped a bully that he had no right to interfere in their private business. We do not chastise people who call the cops when they hear neighbours beating their wives and children.
Human rights are universal.
They either apply to everyone, everywhere, always, or they are not truly universal.
The other objection that sparks to mind is the belittling excuse that some populations are not ready for democracy and freedoms yet. This statement feels insulting and denigrating to the millions of people being subjugated to tyranny against their wills.
But don’t mistake my words. I am not giving a blanket moral endorsement to US expansionism into any country it deems immoral. The proper course of action when you witness a crime is to call the police. I am also not denying the right of people to govern themselves, however, we do not have to tolerate intolerant fascist and fanatical regimes.
And I will admit that our global police force, as represented by the United Nations Peacekeeping force, is grossly inadequate to handle any and all human rights abuses everywhere. Perhaps Paul Kurtz’s global parliament would be helpful in this situation (as diplomacy is always preferable to militancy).
I post this here because I believe these are issues that secularists need to defend. No one has the right to stone another human being to death against their will, and we ought to be ashamed at people who would let such atrocities happen un-denounced.