If Children are Pakistan’s Future, then the Taliban wishes for the Past

Let us get this out of the way. This was an act of terrorism. A school shooting in Pakistan has left 141 peopled dead. A 132 of them were children.

One of the problems with religion is how it deals with the good and the bad. There is little nuance or understanding. If an action is good by the dictates of scripture or the people who keep it, then irrespective of the effect, the act is considered good.

Militants from the Pakistani Taliban have attacked an army-run school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children. Most seem to have been executed in this deadly terror attack on schools. It is the deadliest attack in Pakistan to date with 7 terrorists killing so many innocent people. Students describe fleeing from assailants. There are stories of bravery, not of the attackers. Who is brave? The man who kills children with a gun, or the man who protects them without? If we are to appreciate Islamic Martyrdom then the teachers who gave their lives to shield students and give them more time to run are true heroes. Not these cowards who seek to deny children an education.

It takes decades to train a teacher, it takes seconds to take one away. One of the major reasons for the attack seems to be women worked there. Many of the teachers who died were women.

The Taliban claim that the school was targetted in response to military operations after hundreds of Taliban fighters died in recent offensive in the Waziristan and Khyber region

The potent mix of Islam, theocracy, totalitarianism and ignorance have driven the Taliban. To them a gun is nothing more than a device to kil. The metallurgy and chemistry that powers the device is alien to them. They are a cargo cult in that aspect. To them, an education is dangerous. It’s true. Avicenna (the famous one)  said a man can either have faith or knowledge. If you have no way to get knowledge then faith is all you have. You are now forever a slave to an ideology that would burn teachers and doctors alive.

One of the things that I find abhorrent due to my culture is the killing of teachers. To Hindus, a teacher carries more respect than the gods. Part of that rubs off in my absolute abhorrence towards the murder of so many. Pakistan is not alone in playing host to this depravity.

Reports out of Iraq and Syria mention the murder of around 150 women whose only crime was to refuse to marry people they were captured by as ISIL seeks to be as vile as humanly possible. The Boko Haram kidnapped more people today too.

What we are seeing is people who insist that they are 100% right. Whose ignorance and hate is supported using scripture. Islam has a problem. A terrible one. One that it cannot control. Our role in this is that we laid the foundations and our fears is that such hate will appear on our shores. Our response in this sad and trying time is to learn from Australia.

We have to fight these fanatics. This maggot minded starved fanatic breed must be opposed not just by us and through the use of secular values but also by Muslims who agree with us that these fanatics are fucking crazy. Yes the religion is nuts, everyone’s is. Hell? The punishment for adultery in Hinduism is not stoning but getting savaged to death by wild dogs. Every religion has these mad rules, progress is LEAVING those rules.

Christianity is no different. What it lacks and always has lacked is the opportunity. It has shown us that its fanatics are capable of horrors too, it’s just that we have chained the beast of  fanatics under the walls  of secularism and constantly fight their advances.

So what does this mean? This brutal attack may well be a watershed for a country long accused by the world of treating terrorists as strategic assets. Pakistan can no longer afford to maintain its purely Islamic stance and the lack of popular consensus and large amounts of sympathy have proven to be a stumbling block. When the army began campaigning against the Islamic Fundamentalists who once made up a significant part of Pakistan’s strategy towards the destabilisation of Kashmir, the political protection of these fundamentalists was quite vocal. Now it may not be the case. Even the most religious people can understand that a system that thinks the murder of children as a divine and acceptable message from a god is probably not the good guy

Children who escaped say the militants then went from one classroom to another, shooting indiscriminately. One boy told reporters he had been with a group of 10 friends who tried to run away and hide. He was the only one to survive. Others described seeing pupils lying dead in the corridors. One local woman said her friend’s daughter had escaped because her clothing was covered in blood from those around her and she had lain pretending to be dead.

So Pakistan is at a crossroads. Can it realise that it was the theocracy that helped enshrine fundamentalists that created this attack. Or will it attempt to fight fundamentalists without realising the system creates them.

Whatever it is. This will not be the last time that the innocent will pay the price for the cost of adhering to the rules of religion rather than common sense.

Barb Wire – We do Exist.

Sorry… this post isn’t about the secret fans of Pamela Anderson’s seminal work, Barb Wire but me mocking a piece from a Right Wing American Conservative Magazine that thinks Atheists don’t exist because of “Bible Reasons”.

But it does star our very own Greta Christina’s work! Dr. Don Boys (Doctorate in Bible Stuff… Not Sciences or indeed Medicine) takes umbrage to the fact that atheists exist and declares that we don’t exist.

Ergo? I am a figment of your imagination as is your entire existence which is why I am going to post something Freudian.

Oh fine! I will be serious! [Read more…]

On Dawkins and Jesus

It’s kind of a weird tactic hear. On the one side WND is anti-evolution and thinks the world was created 6000 years ago and that Satan made things like the Cave Paintings and Dinosaurs freely roamed the Earth. These same people often think that this wouldn’t happen if you run into T-Rex.

Unless you were a particularly unlucky pumpkin. I mean this sounds silly, but some creationists seriously ran the “T-Rex as a Veggie” argument. My response at the time was to joke that “this was the reason Christians keep getting eaten by Lions”. [Read more…]

Religious Values

The global poll found that in 22 out of the 39 countries surveyed, the majority of people believe that faith in God is needed for people to be moral and have good values. The results varied considerably throughout regions, with European nations most often rejecting that such a belief is necessary for morality, while Africa and the Middle East were particularly strong in opinion that faith in God is necessary for good values.

Good on us Europeans. [Read more…]

The Thug in Velvet – Not Your Dress

Indian women are often judged harshly for the clothes they wear. Either they are too revealing or too boring or too ugly or too scandalous. The idea of the “sexy” Indian woman exists only in the dream state of cinema.

The same men who whoop and holler at the sexy women on the big screen dancing to modern music would be quick to condemn both the music and much tamer outfits among “real women”.

Gauhar Khan is a fairly famous Indian actress who won last year’s “Indian Big Brother”. She was assaulted on stage by a man who took offence to the clothes she wore.

“Being a Muslim woman, she should not have worn such a short dress.”

It doesn’t matter what dress she wears. If you are offended then look away. She is not there to dress to your satisfaction.

I like it when Hera dresses up. It’s not a demand, it’s not even a request. It’s something she chooses to do to surprise me. But I don’t begrudge her in sweatpants and wearing my T-shirt while watching bad TV. The dress of a woman doesn’t allow you to touch her in any way. Her consent does. As any sort of man irrespective of the gods of your fathers, do you think it is acceptable to strike any human in public let alone a woman and promote the status quo of casual violence aimed at women?

And this isn’t the only such story of the casual nature of thuggish behaviour within Indian culture. It is very easy for a young man to be justified in his violence.

A young man belonging to the Scheduled Caste and his Muslim wife were hacked to death in broad daylight in a village of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday – allegedly by the woman’s brother – for defying the diktat of the village headmen and staying married.

Sonu and Danishta Begum got married four months ago and lived in his house in Fatehpur Village around 75 Km from Delhi. In a story that would have made our hearts swell? They were neighbours for 13 years and childhood sweethearts.

Sonu was hacked to death by Danishta’s brother Talib before he cut her throat. Talib and the girl’s mother Noor Jehan have been arrested. Four others have evaded arrest.

While we would think that caste or religion would be the cause of the murder, it wasn’t. It was fear of reprisals from the Village Headmen that drove the killing.  [Read more…]

Can’t Take A Joke – Veena Malik and Islamic Fundamentalism

Atheists have followed the story of Asia Bibi.

For those who don’t know who she is? Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court, receiving a sentence of death by hanging. In June 2009, she got involved in an argument with a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries after the other women became angry at her for drinking the same water as them. The irony is this sort of logic is a Hindu holdover in both religions. It’s a caste issue. Hindus often don’t share water containers with the untouchables. The practice has died out in the cities but in the countryside? Many lower caste and untouchable people often have their own water containers to prevent “contamination”.  [Read more…]

Cherchez La Femme – Looking for Women in Atheism

It’s a bad sign when the Discovery Institute start making fun of you.

There is a problem in atheism. It is a mainly white male dominated issue but it is changing. While we do see people dragging their feet about representation and what it means and we do see people who aren’t conducive to a more diverse atheist demographic with large fan bases, the fact remains that more and more minority atheists are being seen and heard. Put it this way? Just 10 years ago you couldn’t name any south Asian freethinkers.

Today on JUST this platform alone? Taslima Nasrin, Mano Singham, Heina Dadabhoy and Yours Truly. Now I am not as active in meat space as those 3. Taslima’s books are still selling in India, Heina’s a veteran of a bunch of American Atheist Stuff and Mano’s got books out. I just make loud noises and spelling mistakes. [Read more…]

Rage Against the Machine

It is no surprise that the policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown was not indicted.

I don’t think there is a riot in Ferguson. I think it is just “Hijinks”. After all boys will be boys? I am sorry? Are we reporting two cases of rioting in different ways? Is it okay to riot due to an out of control pumpkin festival but not if you have to argue about the rights of the police?

Activism among White Kids is more acceptable. Possibly because it’s a more genteel form.  It’s people angry about GMOs and Global Warming. But when people of colour get angry about things it generally doesn’t end well. We aren’t portrayed as passionate, we are portrayed as dangerous.

And there are some problems with the dialogue about this. Yes, even among atheists we see the problem. If there was any indicator of “you don’t get it”, there are enough of us who don’t get why people are so angry.

There is a puzzling notion that people should ALWAYS peacefully protest. I agree, peaceful protest is ideal but sometimes it is not possible. The point of powerful pacifist protest is to break the law. Willingly and Deliberately break the law. It is marching miles to make salt. It is purposefully sitting in the wrong seat. It is assembling after curfew.  [Read more…]