Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Karzai: "It seemed like a good idea at the time ..."

I wish this was an April Fool's joke, even a sick one ... but it's not a joke, and it's women being played for fools.

These days, running an election makes one make all sorts of promises. In a country where there are long running tribal conflicts like Afghanistan, one has to please two sets of masters -- the tribal chiefs and the occupying armies. In this case, and in running for re-election as President, Hamid Karzai made a tactical error that has ended up making everyone upset. In backing away from it, he's looked like even more of an idiot. Which is to be expected since he used to work in the oil business as an executive, where the collective IQ in those board rooms seems to be less than ... well I won't finish that sentence, but as a man I'm pissed about this.

At issue is a proposed law (or it may have already passed) which would apply only to the Shia minority. That's bad enough, having two sets of laws. But consider this: It would make it illegal for a woman to refuse to have sex with her husband, forbid her from leaving home without his permission, and automatically grant custody rights in disputes to fathers and grandfathers.

Mind you, this historically wasn't an exclusively Muslim problem. Many Christian majority nations like Canada used to have laws like that. Until 1983, a married Canadian woman couldn't refuse to have sex with her husband. Until the 1970s, in case of divorce, property was presumed to go to the man even if he was responsible for the breakup of the marriage. Some so called Christian countries still give women a legal second class status, and sad to say, many women are still treated like crap de facto here. A close woman friend of mine barely survived a severe beating at the hands of a man last week -- and like in a lot of cases no one knows where he is now, not even the police.

But when we're told one of the prime purposes of the Afghanistan mission is to ensure the safety of women and legislators there pass a law that put women and girls in jeopardy of mass femicide, then the fact is our soldiers are fighting for nothing at all. And even though Karzai has appeared to back off (for now anyway), he has really forfeited his right to govern the country. Not that he should have been there to begin with but he was the only one the West could ensure would build a pipline from the gas supplies in Uzbekistan to a terminal in the south of Pakistan.

This, therefore, was never about women. It was about energy. And that's not a war worth fighting for. Just as the liberation of the concentration camps in World War II was an afterthought, so too appears to be the liberation of women in Afghanistan. And for that we should all hang our heads in shame. Canada should withhold any development aid until this law is cancelled or withdrawn. Otherwise, we shouldn't even be there.

And worst of all we get this news on a day when Croatia and Albania officially join NATO. Neither has a good historical record when it comes to women's rights either. One is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, the other has about a 70% Muslim majority. When it comes to women, very few religions if any seem to get it right.

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Anonymous said...

Folks isn't it time we did away with the religions?
If you like God, keep him/her or it but get rid of the rest of it.
You have enough intelligence to be able to tell the difference between good & bad?

PS. You need to get out of Hamilton. Take it from someone who lived there for nearly 20 years.
It is way to negative, polluted & dark of a place for free-thinkers.

BlastFurnace said...

Hamilton is a huge part of who I am, but as soon as I can raise the nut, I am leaving this town. There's just no life here.