Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pakistan, our "ally": What the hell's wrong with the world?

Dear President Bush,

Do something about this. Please. For God's sake.

If you're serious about America's mission in the world, about the spread of freedom and democracy, stand up with all the moral righteousness you can muster and say with force, conviction, and unswerving determination that things like this simply cannot go on in a place that, allegedly, is an ally.

You welcome Pakistan's foreign minister to the White House, America's house, but Kristof is right: "President Musharraf has gone nuts." He's a thug. And now he's berated, harassed, and detained a poor woman, Mukhtaran Bibi, who dared speak out after she was gang-raped for some "infraction supposedly committed by her brother". She was jeered by her community and was expected to commit suicide in the wake of such humiliation. But "she fought back and testified against her persecutors. Six were convicted."

More than that, she used aid money to "[expand] the schools, [start] a shelter for abused women and [buy] a van that is used as an ambulance for the area. She has also emerged as a ferocious spokeswoman against honor killings, rapes and acid attacks on women." But now she's been detained in some "secret location," and "[s]he is barred from contacting anyone, including her lawyer."

"So, Mr. Bush," if I may quote Kristof's conclusion, "how about asking Mr. Musharraf to focus on finding Osama, instead of kidnapping rape victims who speak out? And invite Ms. Mukhtaran to the Oval Office -- to show that Americans stand not only with generals who seize power, but also with ordinary people of extraordinary courage."

She is the true face of Pakistan, a model of courage in the face of extraordinary hardship. She needs our attention. And she needs your help.


The Reaction

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  • Anyone who claims to be human must of course condemn the kind of acts that you mention in this latest posting.

    That being said, I don't want Bush to take on yetanother cause. If he's going to meddle in any countries affairs why not let it be the good ol' US of A - he seems to be ignoring that one lately - especially the finances.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 PM  

  • Ah, Nate, I can always count on you to be my realist foil. And I thank you for it. Not to retract what I wrote, but my post was obviously more emotion-based than policy-oriented. I certainly don't think that Bush should "take on yet another cause," to quote Jeff. And it is highly problematic even (or especially) for the president of the U.S. to stick his nose into the domestic affairs of other countries (or, say, into the affairs of Florida).

    But I think it's still true that Musharraf has gone mad. I mean, to focus on one individual when you're the president of the country, to allow that individual to become the focus of your rage, and, more so, to show astonishing disrespect for what that individual has gone through -- that's absolutely abhorrent.

    In this case, I would like to see something done about it, though. Sometimes single individuals come to symbolize something profoundly important. Why else did Terri Schiavo become the center of such attention? That may have been an unpleasant affair, but I can understand how she became the focus of a tug-of-war. Sometimes it's just easier to deal with a single case than to conceptualize an issue in the abstract.

    I certainly don't want U.S. forces to go in and extract Ms. Bibi. And I reluctantly acknowledge that Musharraf is the lesser of Pakistan's evils -- it's not like we'd want the alternative (i.e., theocracy). But behind-the-scenes pressure could help. Let's remember that Pakistan counts on the U.S. for support, and this is clearly a case where Bush could make a quiet stand against an obvious case of injustice.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:38 AM  

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