I often find the Western media’s hurry in pronouncing the end of a movement when one of their leaders is dead rather juvenile. Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack, but it is not the end of the Taliban. He became a prominent figure only a few years ago.
It is another matter that he had become one of the most dangerous terrorists. He did kill people, mostly his own. But he managed to organise a large enough contingent to be threatening to the US, to Pakistan and to Afghanistan.
He was a visible villain because he was using religion.
4000 troops American were killed and 35,000 injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The United States has decorated only six officers. If its own soldiers do not matter much, would it really bother them that many many civilians in those countries were killed in their drone attacks and far fewer terrorists than they had gone to take care of?
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We know that Mehsud would most certainly not appreciate the fact that two women are running for the post of Afghanistan’s President in the elections to be held on August 20. That they announced their decision and plastered the walls with their pictures when he was alive is quite telling, and Waziristan is not too far from Afghanistan.
It will be interesting to see how Barack Obama handles this. Besides the sound bytes that will come from trained mouths and a few statements about ‘women’s empowerment’, the US will make sure that Hamid Karzai continues to wear the gilded crown of thorns.
Frozan Fana is an orthopaedic surgeon.
Shahla Ata is a lawyer.
She talks about “male cronyism and corruption” and says, “The people of Afghanistan are sick of this. Billions of dollars have been wasted. My grandchildren will get old before Karzai changes this, so the women should bring change.”
Interestingly, although both do not cover their face, which is considered mandatory, they have not mentioned religion as a constricting force.
An Associated Press report states that not all women support them:
The Movement of Afghan Sisters, a voting bloc of 16,000 women, backs Ashraf Ghani, a man who is also a long-shot but seems stronger on women’s rights, said Homaira Haqmal, the group’s founder. “Many of the female MPs today came through warlords or the political machine. They aren’t free to speak and they aren’t decision makers.”
Before we jump in to mutter, “Ah, I told you so,” think about all those more developed societies where women are merely flaunted as trophies and much effort is expended on what they wear and how they conduct themselves rather than any active part they take in the political process. Think about how Sarah Palin was ridiculed. Think about Aung San Suu Ki’s dilemma. Think about the cop-out of Hillary Clinton. Think about just how many women in decision-making posts are there among the big countries – US, UK, Germany, France, China, even Russia...
And if the report wants to get florid about Ms. Ata by informing the reader that she “wears bright pink nail polish, highlights her eyes with glitter”, then think about Madeleine Albright who said there was always makeup to fix high-powered exhaustion.