Diplomatic Beatdown

Not a literal beatdown but a beatdown nonetheless.

The Afghan Ambassador to Canada, Omar Samad, was summoned by the Canadian government over the appalling legislation approved by President Hamid Karzai limiting the rights of Shia women for political expediency.

The Shia Muslim minority represents a pivotal voting block within the country. This law essentially legalizes the rape of women by their husbands, takes away their right to leave their home without permission and gives the father custody of the children.

Is this what Canadian soldiers are fighting and dying for?

Are we not there to bring basic human rights back to people who have been terrorized by the Taliban?

International reaction has been harsh. In diplomatic terms the expression of “concern” is the equivalent of a threat. The carrot of $131 million in aid that Canada sends to Afghanistan yearly is one that can be snatched away.

Is it unreasonable to expect the basic tenets of human rights to be upheld when our soldiers are dying and so much of our money is going towards the rebuilding of the country?

Alia Hogben, Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Women doesn’t think so.

It is not clear if this legislation has passed or if it is merely a proposal but either way it is disturbing to see what people will do to maintain power.

The cynic in me sees this as just another case where we (Canadians, Westerners, U.N. missions…) seek to bring “democracy” to a country only to be disturbed by where that “democracy” takes them.

People are people at the end of the day and will do what they want to do. Everyone has their own agenda and when common goals diverge, watch out. We have seen it happen time and time again.

I am not saying that this will be one of those times but isn’t it naïve and presumptuous of us to expect another country with different values, customs, history to become a mini-me? Hopefully this will just be a mis-step on the road to equal (or more equal rights) for the citizens of Afghanistan.

Hopefully.

While my gut reaction of disgust and outrage (more accurately, WTF!) is very understandable and is obviously share by many people in the West, I can’t help but wonder how this is being covered by Al Jezeera….

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~ by angryegg on April 3, 2009.

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