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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.

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…]

So what do you think about ISIL?

The issue with ISIL is branding and savvy ideology. Fighters were lured in with tales of Assad’s brutal often omnicidal attacks. So they live in the shadow of being epic douchebags fighting equally epic douchebags. So these guys started off as heroes fighting against a corrupt and brutal government. Plucky heroes gone horribly wrong… [Read more…]

IS and James Foley – Why War Journalism has gotten more unsafe

I noticed general upswings in the number of readers due to the new front page format, so I need to do this from the beginning!

I am a big fan of photography. I got my first SLR from my dad, his old one. I learnt to shoot on film as a kid. I loved war photographers for what they did in telling the story of those who suffered. [TW – About the murder of James Foley and the transcript of his execution] [Read more…]

Criticising an Atheist Horseman – Sam Harris is wrong about Israel and Palestine

I had exams. So I let this slide. My next two are on Saturday and Sunday so I have some time to field this one.

Sam Harris’s take on Israel and Palestine shows an incredible naivety about the situation and buys into the whole notion that the conflict is purely religious in nature. Let’s break it down.

And I fear that writing this will get me accused of being a secret Muslim. The count of accusations due to the prior piece was at 43.  [Read more…]

Peace on our Dime – Israel/Palestine

When a zionist once asked me why I think partitioning Israel may have resulted in the current conflict I had to point out that I came from an ethnic group whose identities of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi were determined by a similar partition and indeed on the same religious grounds.

And for this? Between 7 to 10 million people died in the fragmentation of the Raj and the arbitrary lines drawn up for the sake of peace.

Israel vs. Palestine. [Read more…]