Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wars Against Children: Gaza, Swat

While Western extremists pursue a war against the moderate center in Gaza,Islamic extremists continue their own war against the moderate center. No, the Israeli invasion of Gaza is not a war on Hamas. You don't attack children, ambulances, schools, or U.N. buildings in order to get Hamas: these are attacks on the core of society. Similarly, in Swat Valley in Pakistan, the Taliban pursue war against girls, judging from the editorial in the Pakistani Daily Times, excerpted below:

After a year of military operations in Swat, the territory controlled by the terrorists has reportedly increased from 25 percent to 75 percent. ... The party that rules in Peshawar has been systematically decimated in Swat as its allies walk in fear and no longer criticise the Taliban in public, accusing only the army of being “indiscriminate”.

Swat had voted last year for ANP as a liberal alternative to the now defunct MMA because they wanted their home territory to be made safe against the vandalism of the Taliban. But what they have got is the systematic destruction of the female educational infrastructure in Swat by the Taliban and loss of protection by the state. The terrorists had warned last month that if any girls’ schools opened after January 15, they would be bombed. Consequently, after the expiry of the deadline, none of the 400 plus schools has reopened, causing 80,000 girls to go without education for the foreseeable future. Along with them, 8,000 female teachers will be rendered jobless in state sector and private institutions....

The Taliban have already bombed out of existence 122 girls’ schools in Swat while the army operations go on inside a fast shrinking territory of the writ of the state. The inhabitants no longer believe that the state is capable of protecting them and talk on TV channels freely in favour of the army clearing out of the area and the government negotiating with the terrorists to give them what they want, including a literal ban on the public movement of women....

The measure of lack of success of military operations in Swat can be had from the fact that the terrorists now have an autonomous state of their own, complete with running sharia courts and an FM radio station exhorting the people to accept the new order or die. They have their own network of intelligence and an information secretary that you can ring up and talk to. Every day the people of Swat wake up to find someone or the other either beheaded or hanged on the Green Chowk of Mingora now called Khuni Chowk. Those who could flee Swat have done so; those who have nowhere to go will live under the terrorists.

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