Make a Difference

Day: May 6, 2009

Pakistan, The Taliban And The Tamil Tigers

Sri Lanka’s now virtually complete victory over the Tamil Tigers has been all but ignored in the western media.

But it may very well have been a motivating factor in the March 3 shooting attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Lahore.

Links between islamic extremism and the Tamil Tigers have been ably explored by Melanie Phillips.

While there are victories against terrorism in the Philippines and in Sri Lanka, Pakistan is looking increasingly, and worryingly, insecure.

Pakistan armed forced have been pushing back Taliban fighters in the North-West Frontier Province, which includes Dir and the Swat Valley.

But there is deep distrust of the West amongst ordinary Pakistanis. In his column in yesterday’s UK Times, Anatol Lieven noted that there was such strong support for the Taliban in Northern Pakistan that to remove them entirely would require a level of repression of local people that would be politically impossible.

It is not that the majority of Pakistanis like the Taliban – how could they, given the brutality with which Sharia has been implemented in the North West? Nor is it that they accept the Taliban view of the nature of Islam, although radicalism is far more prevalent than we might like to believe.

It is rather that suspicion if not outright hatred of the West outweighs any fear of the Taliban, who, even if mistaken, are seen as belonging, as part of the Islamic fellowship.

This suspicion of the West manifests in (to us) outrightly irrational views about world events. For example, the following text appeared in Monday’s edition of the Pakistan Daily, in an article titled Israeli Terrorism=US Invasion of Pakistan:

Recent tragedies, both in India and Pakistan (Mumbai carnage, Islamabad Marriot bombing, attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team and Police training centre in Lahore) – bore all the hallmarks of Mossad ‘false flag’ operations being blamed on Pakistan and Islamist groups.

There is widespread belief that the 9/11 attacks were a joint US/Israeli operation to justify military actions in Muslim lands.

Today’s Pakistan Daily front page story is: Is the United States Preparing For War in Pakistan To Kill More Muslims, Central Asia, OIL?

Regular headlines like this: US Afghan Strikes Kill Dozens, Including Women and Children, add to the anger and suspicion.

In these circumstances, when ordinary Pakistanis believe the US, not the Taliban, is causing chaos in Pakistan, it is unwise in the extreme for the US to be issuing orders to the Pakistan government.

Doing so is harmful to the point of being dangerous, because it reduces the government’s credibility with its own people, and consequently its ability to deal with the Taliban insurgents without further enraging the populace.

The West needs to keep its collective mouth shut and let the largely sensible Pakistan government handle this crisis itself.

Until, and pray this does not happen, the Taliban gain so much ground and power that it is clear they will take control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Homophobia And Heterophobia

Some interesting observations here on healing, hope, and homosexuality.

The article is not long, and is worth reading in its entirety. This is an excerpt:

I saw a genuine love and acceptance of men and women who were struggling to move away from behaviors they themselves viewed as destructive and dangerous, possibly deadly. They were choosing it, freely and voluntarily.

Psychiatrist and physicist Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a world authority on homosexuality, a man who describes himself as a skeptic about religion, says that the scientific evidence all points to the possibility of change. For over 35 years, his profession has believed the lie that homosexuals form a “class” whose boundaries are defined by a stable “trait”. It is not true, he says.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, whose new ground -breaking book, “Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy”, says homosexual change is both possible and advisable. His book shows that initially conceptualizing homosexual attraction as a striving “to repair gender deficits,” has moved to the realization as a striving “to repair deep self-deficits” and as a “defense against trauma to the core self.”

Writes Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, after he attended a Leanne Payne conference, “I met a large number of people who had left the lifestyle and changed their sexuality. There I met hundreds of people struggling with that issue, and many who had successfully emerged on the other side and were married with children. As I got to know them, I found them to be quite remarkable. The struggle to be healed had left an indelible imprint. I saw a humility, an empathy and a fearlessness about life. They knew exactly what it meant to stand up for what they believed in, since the struggle to become who they truly were had exacted such a cost in suffering. Since then I have met plenty of people who have moved away from same sex attractions.”

Disabled Protestors Arrested Outside White House

This is hardly a news flash – it happened a week ago. But I had seen nothing about this in the mainstream media, and only heard of it this morning from Uppity Woman.

A fuller version of the story can be found on the (US) ABC website.

As senators, both President Obama and Vice President Biden co-sponsored the Community Choice Act. During the campaign, then-Sen. Obama said the “legislation is vitally important to the independence, community integration, and equality of hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities,” that it will help to empower them “to take full advantage of their talents” and “ensure that everyone can live independently as full citizens in their communities.”

At the moment, disabled people can only use Federal social security funds to access nursing home care. The Community Choice Act would have amended the Social Security Act so that disabled people can use those funds to support them to live at home. More dignity for them, better for their local communities, and less expense for the taxpayer.

But now that he is in office, this does not seem to be such a high priority for Obama as it was when he was campaigning.

At least, not such a high priority as firing the CEO of General Motors, or threatening Chrysler lenders.

Dom DeLuise Dies

Comedian and nice guy Dom DeLuise has died after a year long fight with cancer.

I’m not really a comedy person, but Dom DeLuise’s collaborations with Mel Brooks and Burt Reynolds had me in tears of laughter. They were horribly low brow (think of Blazing Saddles and Cannonball Run), but simply good natured and funny. That was the thing I liked – Dom was funny without being cruel.

Here’s a perfect example, from the Johnny Carson Show:

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