Double Standards, Triple Standards, Quadruple Standards
The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to the taking of life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists whose real though unadmitted motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration of totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writings of younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States. Moreover they do not as a rule condemn violence as such, but only violence used in defence of western countries.
That’s from George Orwell’s "Notes on Nationalism," first published in Polemic, in 1945.
Notes on Nationalism is a good place to start if you want to make sense of events in Afghanistan these days, perhaps especially this part: “Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. . . One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally different interpretations from different sources.”
Keep that in mind when considering the case of Abdul Rahman. Afghanistan’s judiciary is notoriously corrupt, and the difficult work of clearing out the dreary old obscurantists who still infest that poor country’s court system is going to be a hard slog. In all likelihood, Rahman will be convicted in the first round, but there is an appeal process available to him, and Afghanistan’s constitution has at least vague religious-freedom guarantees.
So there’s time yet, and the last thing we should do is to play into the hands of the religious fanatics clinging to power in Afghanistan’s judiciary, who clearly want to use this case to incite Afghan nationalist sentiment against the progressive and democratic forces in that country that so desperately need our help. Right-wing Christians who have been jumping up and down about this case should be careful that they don’t get what they wish for. Before casting motes out of other people’s eyes, they should pay closer attention to what Islam actually says about these things, and they should remember their own rotten interpretations of Leviticus 18:22.
This brings us to other people in Afghanistan that Canadians should be particularly concerned about, people whose plight Montreal Simon eloquently describes.
It also reminds me that my links are short on Yanks, and I should have had this guy up ages ago. He is now.