Posts Tagged ‘pakistan’

When Obama got Osama

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

There was a moment tonight as the news of Osama bin Laden’s death began to spread like wildfire and Wolf Blitzer and John King traded adjectives to mark the momentous, historic, memorable occasion that I was sorely tempted to break into a rendition of “Ding, dong, the witch is dead.” The thought made me giggle. The giggle made me snort. The snort made me cry.

I put out a few tweets on Twitter expressing my belief that while bin Laden’s death is an achievement, it does not end the global war against terrorism, and that I found it somewhat creepy that people were dancing around to celebrate a death.

And my tweet stream blew up.

I quickly realized that I was in a minority –that while most of my fellow Americans (at least those in my tweet stream) agree bin Laden’s death is not a complete end, most really saw nothing wrong with celebrating the death of another human being.

The fact that I found the death chants creepy unleashed a rather spirited debate with my fellow Tweeters.

I was harangued, unfollowed and insulted by several people who called me a few rather interesting names because I was unwilling to break into song over the death of a mass murderer.

Yes, bin Laden was evil. Yes, bin Laden had the blood of thousands on his hands. Yes, he cared nothing for the countless lives he destroyed with his plans for a better world. He was an evil man….a homicidal hatemonger who ranked up there with some of the nastiest men to walk this earth in the last 50 years.

But I didn’t dance when Milosevic died, I didn’t sing when Hussein was sent to the gallows, and I did not celebrate tonight.

Beside my unwillingness to mark bin Laden’s passing with either celebration or mourning he certainly doesn’t deserve from me, what bothered me most was celebration for a war that has not ended.

Global terrorism, with or without bin Laden, remains a security threat to nations around the world, especially the United States. Celebrating bin Laden’s death should not replace acknowledgement of the cold hard truth that the “war on terror” is far from over.  

One person tweeted: “Why can’t people take this moment to celebrate?” Another pointed out that the news made people happy and that the country needed some good news.

I began to feel like a cop pulling up outside a frat house to stop a party.

Bin Laden was more than just a figurehead – he was a battle-tested mujahidin with charisma and intelligence who served as an inspiration for thousands of young men around the world over the last few decades. His death is most certainly a major loss for Al Qaeda.

But the organization didn’t die tonight. There are cells, entire structures, in other parts of the world that operate independently, some within a series of Al Qaeda command levels and others outside them. They are unlikely to take the news of bin Laden’s death lightly…and neither should we.

Are your eyes open?

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

A lot has been written about the relatively lukewarm response to the monsoon flooding in Pakistan that uprooted over 20 million people and destroyed the lives of millions of families: Pakistan suffers from a reputation deficit, the disaster didn’t unfold rapidly like Haiti’s earthquake, and/or donors are just tapped out after the string of massive natural disasters over the last decade.

And sure, every single one of those reasons/excuses/arguments reflects a portion of the truth.

But behind all the handwringing and suppositions lies the most important truth of all:

Millions of mothers and fathers continue to ache every second of every day

because they cannot feed, clothe or house their children;

they cannot protect their families from the ravages of exposure and disease.

 

That is the truth that Salman Ahmad, lead singer of the rock band Junoon and one of Pakistan’s most effective – and dedicated – global ambassadors, wants us all to remember.  

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For the people of Pakistan

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

 

As per my own weird-little-norm-of-obsessive-news-following I have been tracking the floods in Pakistan for a couple of weeks. I quietly did my part, sending what I could to help affected families.

But it wasn’t until this morning that I decided to come out publicly and urge people to get involved.

Why?

Because according to numerous new reports, like this one from Canada’s Globe and Mail, two major reasons relief agencies are having such a hard time raising funds to help people in the affected areas are:

Not enough global media coverage.

Pakistan suffers from an image deficit.

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Changing Reality: A jihad we can all support

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

What do Mick Jagger, Coca-Cola and Lahore, Pakistan all have in common?

They are all elements in one man’s ongoing jihad to build bridges across borders.

Salman Ahmad is a modern warrior, armed with weapons of mass destruction aimed straight at hatred, mistrust and divisiveness. Using his favored tools – a guitar, haunting melodies and poignant lyrics – he is out to tear down barriers and get people around the world to stop and really take a look at each other.

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Systematic Failure: How low can a politician go?

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Just when I thought it was impossible to be any more disgusted by the shenanigans of politicians, along come two New York Times stories that turned my stomach.

First up? John Edwards.

After repeated denials and lots of puppy dog eyes, the former Democratic presidential nominee-hopeful has now publicly admitted that, yes, he is the father of his former mistress Rielle Hunter’s 2 year old daughter.

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