Friday, November 17, 2006

Storm receding

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What passes for progress in the umma

Rape victims in Pakistan may soon be able to press charges without fear that they will end up in prison while their attackers walk. Under the country's sharia-based "Hudood" laws, a woman who fails to produce four eyewitnesses (male, of course) to support her accusation of rape has effectively pled guilty to adultery, which carries a maximum penalty of death. Under a new law passed yesterday over loud objections from the parliament's substantial Islamist contingent, a failure to prove rape will no longer automatically morph into an adultery charge against the victim. Should a court actively choose to pursue the adultery charge, the woman may spend only up to five years in lock-up. Brilliant.

Bear in mind that Pakistan--like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia--is supposedly on our side in the ideological battle against the forces of darkness. With friends like these ...

ISLAMABAD, Nov 15: The government rushed a signal women's rights bill through the National Assembly on Wednesday amid a boycott by religious parties and some drama after the draft survived a prolonged controversy and an apparent last-minute intrigue.

Slogan-chanting members of the Muttahida Majlis-Amal (MMA) walked out of the house in protest before the vote on the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Rights Bill, which they said was contrary to Islamic injunctions about punishments for zina (adultery and rape).

It's not easy to read about Pakistan's Parliamentary politics without going cross-eyed from the endless acronyms the parties employ in a vain attempt to distinguish each brand of primitive double-think from the next. For the masochistic and the stubbornly inquisitive, here's the link from the Pakistan Dawn Online: Some respite for women, at last: Protection of rights bill gets through NA

In any event, reading a little deeper into today's issue of the Dawn reveals that there isn't really as much dawn there as we might hope. On the same day as the Hudood laws came a step closer to the trashbin, the regional goverment of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) voted to introduce a new "anti-vice ombudsman" to protect Islamic values and keep everyone in line with sharia. This is the same bunch of AK-toting, hardscrabble yahoos who thought the gang-rape of Mukhtar Bibi was no big deal. Improbable as it might seem, they manage to give Pakistan a bad name. Oh yeah ... and they've probably been shuttling a burqa-clad Osama Bin Laden from safe house to safe house ever since he crawled out of Tora Bora back in 2002.

Well, they've put their heads together and written a new law, the NWFP Hisba Act, and it will drag their little patch of earth back into the seventh century faster than you can sing "Come, Mister Taliban ..." Whoops, sorry, no singing allowed anymore. Check out some of the highlights of the powers exercized by the new religious police:

Special powers of Mohtasib.

Without prejudices to the powers conferred by section 9, the Mohtasib shall have the following powers:-

(i) To monitor adherence of moral values of Islam at pubic places;

(ii) To discourage Tabdhir or extravagance, particularly at the time of marriages and other family functions;

(v) To monitor adhearence of Islamic values and its respect and regard at the times of ‘Iftar’ and ‘Taravih’;

(vi) To Whom It May Concern
[ed.--Gee, that's subtle.]: discourage entertainment shows and business transactions at the times of Eideen and Jumm’ah prayers around mosques where such prayers are being held;

(vii) To remove causes of derelection in performance and proper arrangement of Eideen and Jumu’ah prayers;

(xiv) To discourage un-Islamic and inhuman customs;

(xv) To check the tendency of indecent behaviour at public places including harassment of female;
[ed.--That's "female," singular, because that's about how many you'll find out and about on the streets of Peshawar before too long.]

(xvi) To eradicate the deal as profession in ‘Taweez’, ‘Gunda’, palmistry, sorcerary, etc ...

"Sorcerary"? "Eradicate the deal as profession"? Can I start a Taliban to eradicate Engrish?

Better yet, can NASA hurry up and find us a new planet? We'll slip quietly away in our spaceships while the Sunnis and the Shiites duke it out. They can have earth. I'd breathe canned air and drink Tang for the rest of my life to get my family safely away from these morons.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Long Live Saddam ... In prison

The death penalty is something our nation should be outgrowing, not exporting.

That said, there are reasons to string the madman up, take some pictures of his bloated corpse, and be done with him. Mainly, his demise might diminish the fervor of one rank of the so-called insurgents who've devoted themselves to spilling the blood of Americans and Shiites in Iraq for the last three and half years. His death might also reassure some of our Iraqi allies that they'll not be facing an exact repeat of the last time we retreated from the region and left them to be rounded up and tortured for their support of Western intervention. And there's always the sadistic pleasure of taking revenge on an unrepentant, egomaniacal killer.

Nonetheless, Saddam should live. It might be a good idea to remove him to a maximum security prison in, say, Denmark, but killing him is unwise. Everybody loves a shahid, so why let him pull an Obi-Wan Kenobi on us? Move him to a northern climate, put him on a high-trans-fat diet with not much yard time, and he'll pass like Slobodan--in his sleep before the next Olympics. Not much glory in that.

Sadly, it's not up to us--or me, for that matter, like always. We turned him over to the Iraqis (not so much a puppet regime as a Pinocchio regime) when he should have gone to the Hague. When they hang him, there will no doubt be celebratory gunfire in the streets. Get yer' AK out. Another victory for civilization. Before the barrels cool they'll be back to murdering one another in the name of Allah.