Friday, July 27, 2007

are the Taliban blameless?

While I agree with many commenters that the Korean hostages (especially their leaders) share a significant measure of blame for the current circumstances, I find myself stumped by certain people's refusal to place primary blame on the barbarism of the Taliban. Witness this incredible comment over at Malcolm's site:

The Taliban are doing nothing other than what Korea’s own Daewongun was doing a mere century and a half earlier. That the war-ravaged lands of Afghanistan haven’t “caught up” to the rest of the world should really be no surprise. This lack of historical commensurability is key. Unless you are ready to call George Washington and Thomas Jefferson brutes and savages for owning slaves, which I doubt you are, the castigation of the Taliban is mere posturing, and rather racist and imperialist posturing at that. “You must accept our sweet dumb missionaries, because that’s the way we do things!” The Taliban, no matter how morally repugnant we may find them, doesn’t have to answer to anyone in regards to what they do on their own land. They’ve guaranteed no safety for foreigners, offered no invitation to missionaries. They’ve quite plainly done the opposite, a fact the Korean Government and others have wisely heeded. If Taliban come to Korea, or the USA, to do their bidding, you are certainly obliged to “extirpate” them. Until then, this moral castigation is but chest puffing that only serves to fuel the fires of a more general anti-Islamic hatred that consumes a certain segment of the West.

This is arrant nonsense, straight out of Edward Said's Orientalism. I utterly reject the idea that condemning the Taliban's murders is somehow an example of "racist and imperialist posturing." You don't have to be a "privileged" Westerner to condemn the Taliban's actions.

You want to know what's racist? Assuming the Taliban are not human beings who should be held accountable for murder. Every time I hear the "Would you play with a rabid dog?" argument, I find myself wondering why the arguer is so keen to suspend judgment of the Taliban while strongly condemning the Koreans. Remind me: who are the victims here?

This isn't to say I absolve the Koreans of blame. It's insane to enter a strongly Muslim country and attempt anything even approaching mission work there. The trip organizers had a duty to apprise their charges of the very real dangers associated with entering a war zone.

But let's not lose our critical faculties and assign equal guilt to all respective parties. If the Koreans came to spread God's word, then at the very worst, they were being as obnoxious as the Jehovah's Witnesses who've occasionally knocked on my family's door in Virginia. How exactly does that compare to shooting a pastor full of holes and dumping him by the roadside? If you think the sins of obnoxiousness and murder are equivalent, then you are truly lost.

Some Koreans are, fortunately, coming around to the idea that the Taliban are the primary locus of blame.


1 comment:

Levi Kaufman said...

Well, if you don't care for the rabid dog metaphor, there's always the one about the consequences of playing with fire. They stuck their hands into the hottest part of the fire, and now they want everyone to not only pay the hospital bill, but also people want someone else to take the blame.

Was there any chance that the Taliban wouldn't try to capture and hold these people for ransom...a situation which commonly degrades into killing? I suppose if this was some random even that didn't happen as the result of willfully disregarding multitudes of warnings not to go, opportunities to turn back, and exhortations by the Afghani government to at least enter this insanely dangerous area with an armed escot...then I guess the Taliban would have more than a moderate amount of culpability in the matter.

Yes, the Taliban ARE bad...and everyone with even an touch of self-preseRvation, sanity, or common-sense avoids them like the fucking plague...BECAUSE THEY FUCKING KILL PEOPLE. They ARE bad, indeed, but don't stroll right onto their doormat and expect that they will either see the errors of their way or that God will intervene because neither has happened in a very long time.

Now these stupid, but apparently well-meaning people expect others to risk life and limb to save their sorry asses, since they weren't willing to take ANY precaution to avoid the situation in the first place????

I recall reading on the Marmot's hole that many of these people made out wills prior to departure and had every intention of becoming martyrs. Some of these people had been visiting the area for years, one woman is actually fluent in the local doesn't it seem likey that they were also cognizent of the Koran and the Taliban's policy of executing converts and missionaries alike?

SOMEONE knew, didn't they? I know they didn't brief these people's parents on the certain death they were walking into. I think it's possible that some of these well-meaning, innocent, fucktards might not have known that getting killed might actually be part of their church's grandiose plans to bring attention to their numerous brain-washing...sorry, missionary programs in other countries. could be that their God, seeing people undertake nothing short of certain death, decided that their quest for martyrdom should not go ungratified. Is the Christian god really that peevish and childish? According to most Christians, the answer is yes.

Shit, don't get cold feet now, people...that was your true intention anyway.