Why did our European and US governments invade Afghanistan? How many of us can recall the general rhetoric of a Just War fought in the name of an ‘Enduring Freedom’ to liberate Afghan women from their burqa and Afghan men from their long beards, as well as bringing to justice bin-Laden? The Afghan campaign has been a half military success, with US and Nato generals blaming each other for the other half failure, while bin-Laden, if not dead by natural cause, can celebrate Bush’s most evident flop. The Afghan war, while facilitating a new form of old corruption in the cities and capital, has increased the suffering of the rural population, often caught in battles of which they are only the victims. Yet some say that Afghanistan is now a better place since it is on the route toward democracy, though a fictional and corrupted one. Continue reading
After World War I western nations have their own Unknown Soldier to commemorate those soldiers who lost their life serving their countries and whose identity was lost forever together with their lives. Some nations, like the UK, used their main churches to host the grave of the Unknown Soldier, others, like Italy, built monumental shrines. Yet the intention in any case is the same: to glorify self-sacrifice in the name of the nation. Although marked by an aura of religiosity, the monument is very much secular paraphernalia. Painted as a symbol of civil piety, the Unknown Soldier is a self-glorifying institution of Durkheimian mimesis. Continue reading
Recently the Crown has claimed its first success in prosecuting, under Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006, a wannabe ‘jihadi’, Mr Sohail Anjum Qureshi. Mr Sohail Qureshi, 29, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to charges of preparing to commit terrorist activity and possessing items of use to terrorists, including a night vision scope and medical supplies To count this sentence as the first success of a quite unsuccessful piece of legislation is like to celebrate for a faux victory. I will explain the reasons below. Yet let me observe some aspects of the case. Here’s what the BBC has to say about it
I left a raining London on the 28th of June. London was busy as usual, noisy as usual, and multicultural and multifaith as usual. While the nation greeted the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London, an increasing number of civilians in Afghanistan were killed and maimed by the increasingly ruthless ISAF attacks. Even President Hamid Karzai, surely one of the most passionate supporters of the coalition forces, and certainly not a Taliban sympathizer, strongly condemned the military actions which have terrorised and killed the civilians in the north of the country. News from Afghanistan attracted little attention for the Western audience.