Kyle Kulinski on Malala Yousafzai and why she deserved to win the Nobel Peach Prize.
From The Guardian, by Jon Boone.
A gang of 10 Taliban fighters who tried to kill the teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai two years ago have been arrested, the Pakistan army claimed on Friday.
The military said a top commander of the Pakistani Taliban had told the men to kill the schoolgirl and 22 high-profile figures in Swat, the picturesque region where Yousafzai lived before being shot in the head by a gunman in October 2012, when she was 15.
The attack on a girl who had risen to prominence after campaigning against the efforts of the Taliban to violently stop girls attending school drew global condemnation. Despite serious head injuries Malala survived thanks to emergency care at Pakistani army facilities and subsequent surgery and rehabilitation at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“The entire gang involved in the murder attempt … has been busted,” said army spokesman General Asim Bajwa.
Today over at Skepchicks, Heina Dadabhoy created a post pointing out something rather disgusting that twitter has done recently, quoting from a page over at the Ex Muslims of North America she points outs,
Twitter has agreed to use its ‘Country Withheld Tool’ to block “blasphemous tweets” in Pakistan, thus becoming complicit in suppressing free speech, and in aiding Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Over the past month, Twitter accounts have been suspended and tweets have been blocked in Pakistan; a Twitter user has recently been jailed in Turkey for a “blasphemous” tweet. In Pakistan and other theocracy-based states, blasphemy laws are key tools used by those in power to actively persecute minorities.
Anti-blasphemy laws, like their anti-apostasy counterparts, are yet another way to suppress minority groups’ freedom of expression and punish those who express any views deviating from the mainstream.
And its not just her, or the EMNA that has mentioned this. In addition The New York Times has also reported on it and so has Aljazeera. This isn’t that surprising, unfortunately. Its not the first time something like this has happened. Awhile back Google agreed to censor its search results on its Chinese language version, so they would be allowed to operate in China.
google.cn — the Chinese language version of the search portal — debuted Wednesday with the company acknowledging the balancing act it was attempting to perform.
“In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy,” a Google statement said.
“While removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission.”
Here’s the text from the “Twitter Theocracy” petition that was created to get Twitter to change its policy.
Twitter has agreed to use its ‘Country Withheld Tool’ to block “blasphemous” tweets in Pakistan. Blasphemy laws are used in Pakistan and elsewhere to suppress dissent and persecute minorities who face state and vigilante violence at the mere accusation of blasphemy. Twitter is being complicit in suppressing free speech, and in aiding Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
We urge Twitter and all other international companies and organizations to uphold human rights-based standards of conduct, particularly when it comes to freedom of expression.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Tell Twitter that human rights trump theocratic oppression, and that you will not tolerate censorship of dissenters who are trying to speak up against theocratic and oppressive regimes.
Sign this petition and join us on June 10 by tweeting using hashtag #TwitterTheocracy. Use the freedom of speech you still have to defend the same human right for everyone. For more info, visit the campaign against #TwitterTheocracy page.
Remember to spread the word among your own social networks!
Please consider signing the petition, this is an important free speech and freedom of religion issue.
His discharge is mentioned in the very last sentence of this story. Hmmm…
Former Army Sergeant Josh Korder served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
He came forward Monday claiming Bergdahl deserted his post and shouldn’t be celebrated.
“Any of us would have died for him while he was with us and then for him to just leave us like that, it was a very big betrayal,” Korder said in an earlier interview with CNN.
Korder believes Bergdahl walked away from his post and isn’t the hero he’s being hailed.
“I think he just wanted to go on an adventure without having anyone to answer to, without anything to worry about,” Korder in an earlier interview with CNN.
Six soldiers were reportedly killed during searches for Bergdahl.
The Pentagon rejected the idea of a rescue mission for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl because he was being moved so often by his Taliban captors that U.S. special operators would have had to hit up to a dozen possible hideouts inside Pakistan at once in order to have a chance at rescuing him.
That’s according to U.S. officials, who also say the Obama administration did not want to risk the political fallout in Pakistan from another unilateral U.S. raid, like the Navy SEAL raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Bergdahl had also twice tried to escape, so the militants guarding him had stepped up their numbers, further complicating any potential rescue attempt.
“A rescue mission would have been fraught politically as well as tactically,” according to a senior defense official briefed on the Bergdahl case.
The lack of information about Bergdahl’s whereabouts shows how few choices the administration had, and why officials felt negotiations with the Taliban were their best option. His repeated attempts to escape also call into question those who call him a deserter who did not intend to return to the U.S. army’s ranks.
In my continued research on Pakistan, the women of the FATA, and particularly the Swat Valley, good news is rare. So rare in fact, when I do come across it - I end up having one of those “thank gosh” moments.
When you spend a significant amount of time commiserating with the struggle of any particular group, the need to share the equitable moments grows.
This may seem a small step to us, in Pakistan, for women, this is a giant leap.
Dr Shazia Qureshi has been appointed principal of the Punjab University Law College (PULC) following her promotion as associate professor. Dr Shazia is the first woman principal of the college in its 146-year history.
Dr Shazia did her LLM from the Cambridge University and obtained a PhD from the Lancaster University.
She is also an extraordinary person:
In her progress report, Dr Shazia’s advisor Prof Sigrun Skogly wrote that she had actually completed her PhD thesis in less than three years, which was “highly unusual”.
Dr. Shazia Naureen Qureshi
Incharge, Associate Professor
LL.B. from University Law College, Lahore with distinction. Obtained Gold Medal in the subject of Mercantile Law in LL.B. Won highly competitive British Commonwealth Scholarship for the prestigious Cambridge University (UK) to earn the LL.M degree. Did specialization in International Law in LL.M. Joined University Law College as Lecturer and became Assistant Professor in 1995. Ms. Qureshi’s special area of interest is International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Law and International Disputes Settlement.
There are two major planks to Salam’s argument, and they will ring familiar to anyone who lived in the immediate post-9/11 world: that America must have an aggressive and powerful army, first because our strength is required to bring stability to a vulnerable world, and second because there is so much evil in the world, we are required to defeat it. These are not, let’s say, the freshest of arguments when it comes to the defense of neoconservatism. But since he’s brought them back up, they should be addressed.
In essence, both arguments can be refuted with three words: should implies can. For the argument towards stability, I ask simply: we have endured a war in Iraq, we still have thousands of troops in Afghanistan, we have waged secret wars in Pakistan and Yemen. I ask you: how stable do you find the world? How stable was the world at the height of the Bush Doctrine? What possible evidence can be offered that neoconservatism brings stability in fact, rather than merely in rhetoric?
Nor is it clear that the enduring American military dominance Salam advocates for can be achieved. I would certainly oppose American military hegemony even if I thought such a thing were still possible, but it’s irrelevant, because I don’t. To quote Matthew Yglesias, relative decline is not a choice. That the United States cannot maintain its status as unipolar power forever should be obvious to anyone who has studied history and anyone with a newspaper subscription. The rapidly developing economies and massive populations of countries like China and India make that plain enough. That’s not to say that there will necessarily be a new dominant superpower, but it’s a reason you should bet on the field.
Saudi Arabia is not the go-to country when you think of atheism, being one of the world’s most repressive Islamic societies. Turns out we may have them pegged all wrong. A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that there is a similar proportion of atheists in Saudi Arabia as in the United States and parts of Europe, and what’s more, those atheists are being increasingly vocal, despite the threat of violence against them.
When Saudi Arabia issued a decree criminalizing the practice of atheism this month, it sparked a blasphemous campaign in response. The hashtag #CampaigntoTearTheQuraninSaudiArabia was tweeted more than 7,800 times in the span of a week, circulating images of protest.
Desecration of the Quran is one of the most extreme acts of blasphemy that a Muslim can perpetrate and has been a trigger for violent reactions around the world. Several days ago, an angry mob burned a Hindu temple in Pakistan to the ground after rumors circulated that a Quran had been desecrated by one of its members.
This came days after the government suspended talks with the group following execution style killings of 23 captive soldiers.
The air strikes were carried out after protracted consultations between the military leadership after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “The decision over the attacks on militant hideouts in North Waziristan was made after three consecutive days of meetings between the government and military leadership,” an official in the PM office said. “It was the only option to teach the Taliban a lesson.”
Earlier, the 70-year-old ex-president was brought to the court from a military hospital in Rawalpindi in a heavily-protected convoy. He sat in witness box and stood briefly when addressed by the judge. But Musharraf did not speak.
When Justice Arab asked him how he was feeling, he replied with a smile on his face that he was “good”. He remained in the court for 20 minutes and was taken back to the hospital, where he was admitted on January 3 after complaining of chest pain while traveling to the court for hearing.
The trial against Musharraf is related to his suspension, abrogation and subversion of the constitution after imposition of emergency rule in November 2007.