When Tyrants Tremble In Their Fear, And Hear Their Death Knell Ringing. . .
Among the friends I was thinking about was Lauryn Oates, my co-founder at the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, who just returned to Kabul on assignment with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. She arrived there just a few hours ago.
Today, another friend, Solidarity Committee member and Vancouver columnist Ian King, has an interview with Lauryn in the metro daily 24 Hours, from just before she left. Here's Lauryn on the grotesquely inverted politics of Canada's so-called "anti-war" movement, and its corruption of Canada's New Democratic Party:
"They're pro-war, which goes against everything I think the left should actually stand for. It's a betrayal of leftist values that caused me to abandon that party."
And that is the bracing truth that far too many people of the Canadian "left" have failed to muster the stamina to face: "Troops out" means war. It means the triumph of barbaric misogyny. It means a surrender to slavery.
"It's absolutely guaranteed," says Lauryn. "You'd see civil war, you'd probably see it for years, you'd see mass deaths, much worse than what what we see now. I couldn't live with that if my country was responsible for letting that happen."
Yesterday, an old friend, Ian's fellow columnist Bill Tieleman, wrote a Valentine's Day column about the eccentric and daring Afghan politician Malalai Joya that reiterates the same delusion that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently called a "historic misjudgment" that is "almost more dismaying" than the rank opportunism of the Taliban itself.
Bill is a decent guy who is simply wholly unfamiliar with the issues at stake in Afghanistan. His mistakes begin with his first sentence: "Canada has already lost 78 soldiers and a diplomat in combat in that tragic country, which we simply do not understand."
The first mistake is an honest but outrageous mistake that also skates perilously close to making partisan politics out of dead soldiers: We have not lost 78 soldiers to combat in Afghanistan. Most of those 78 deaths, which have occurred over a six-year period, had nothing at all to do with combat. It is now 2008. Not one Canadian soldier has died from engaging in "combat" since 2006.
The second half that sentence is not so much a mistake as an admission - or at least the suggestion of one - that he simply doesn't understand what his column purports to be about.
Bill might profit by talking to some of the tens of thousands of Afghan Canadians whose views have been strangely ignored in this country. But first, he would have to set aside the habit, peculiar to and widespread among New Democrats, of letting Malalai Joya do his thinking for him. At the very least, he might be a bit more straightforward about what it is that Joya actually thinks.
Ian King, who took the time to understand a bit about Afghanistan before setting out to write about it, knows only too well what Joya thinks: "When asked by 24 hours' Irwin Loy what the result of a Western pullout would be, she replied 'Civil war'."
In prison cell and dungeon vile, our thoughts to them are winging. When friends by shame are undefiled, how can I keep from singing?
In Saudi Arabia, a woman named Fawza Fahli spent Valentine's Day in a dungeon, waiting to be executed by beheading, on a conviction for witchcraft based on a written confession that she does not know how to read, and which she signed, by fingerprint, only after 35 days of beatings, during which she had to be hospitalized.
In Montreal, our beloved Simon continues to wage his campaign to force Canadians to confront the ongoing pogrom that gay people are suffering in Jamaica, and Simon sees a glimmering of hope in that struggle in a Canadian refugee-status application filed by Jamaican Gareth Henry, who has seen 13 of his gay friends slaughtered over the past four years.
Meanwhile, my friend the Iranian-Canadian blog-wizard Arash Kamangir and Israeli-Canadian journalist Lisa Goldman explain, in Notes from the Underground, how tens of thousands of Iranians and Israelis have found ways to send one another their warmest regards, and to argue, and discuss, and make friends, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them.
And friends rejoice, from far and near.