As if U.S. troops and diplomats didn’t have enough to worry about in trying to understand Afghan culture, a new report suggests an entire region in the country is coping with a sexual identity crisis.
An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.
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For the western forum that Huffington Post represents, a producer for Link TV focuses on how the Western media conflates Talibanization and Shariah law, and how many women support Islamic law but oppose the Taliban.
However, the actual video she produced for Link TV, Women vs the Taliban, which surveys worldwide media coverage of the Taliban and the women who resist them, also highlights the denial that has been prevalent until recently about how aberrant the Taliban actually are. A clip from Nai Rahain’s Pakistani TV talk show is excerpted. Here, Rahain describes two guests responses on her show after the flogging video came to light:
Both my Peshawar guests were in complete denial of women’s rights being violated in Swat, to the extent that Mr. Shahraaz Khan accused Samaa of ‘making up’ this [flogging] video and doing a great disservice to Pakistan by airing it. Ms. Shagufta Malik was firm in her belief that her government had a solid control of the area and post peace-deal no such events had taken place. They both denied women being banned from leaving their homes or accessing public places, even though my sources confirmed that due to threats from TTP, shopkeepers of popular markets in Swat and Malakand including Bara Market, Sitara Market, Abaseen Market, Waqar Market and Waqas Market had strictly prohibited women coming unaccompanied by male family members.
The Huffington Post is asking people living in Pakistan to sign up to send reports “- either snippets of information or full-length stories – about how the political crisis affects life in Pakistan. If you are interested, this is an opportunity to have a continued conversation with Americans about what’s happening in your country.”
A great idea. That’s how Huffpo got the excellent “Denial-stan” article that I linked to here earlier this week. If you live in Pakistan and are reading this – contact Huffpo and go for it. The less information is mediated by Western media and Western Muslims, the better.
Iraqi ‘executioner’ defends killing of gay men.
“We see this [homosexuality] as a serious illness in the community that has been spreading rapidly among the youth after it was brought in from the outside by American soldiers,” he said, in an interview in the Iraqi capital. Abu Muslim is not his real name. “These are not the habits of Iraq or our community and we must eliminate them.”
In the absence of national leadership or even basic coherence at the top, rumors and ideological punditry masquerade as reason. A television anchor insists that all the attacks are the handiwork of Indian intelligence agents. A talking head on another channel claims that the Taliban are misunderstood – all they want to do is to bring swift justice to the country. Another strategic expert assures viewers that everything happening in Pakistan is the U.S.’s fault. Drone attacks are creating anti-Americanism, and its only natural that those attacked will retaliate wherever they can. If the US were to simply stop the drone attacks on Pakistan, everything would be just fine. The fact that Pakistan was spinning out of control well before anyone had heard the term drone hamla, is left out of the conversation.
The conservatives themselves are men reacting to the threatening Western presence and targeting women who are often the victims of wars and the political instability that it brings. With the threat of outsiders, women become burdened with the need to carry and preserve culture.
If it weren’t for those darn outsiders…