Taliban

So now that Afghanistan is independent, a lot of people discuss what to do about them. The taliban has established an emirate government which practices Sharia law. I’ve actually studied some things about Sharia law, and it’s a lot less scary than people think it is. Does it have flaws? Yes. But no more so than our legal systems.

Liberal law finds its traces in feudalism and nobility. There are a lot of traces left from the Napoleonic era of law, and a lot of things in our law is openly hostile to democracy and populism. Our law was invented by what the Romans called Optimates, and what we would call “the elite.”

Mind you, not the anti-Semitic euphemism, I am literally talking about high ranking administrative people within the state and private sectors. Most of whom are gentiles.

We have a law that puts the bias in favour of the politician, the landlord, the CEO and the shareholder. Where democracy outside of very strict and very limited boundaries is punished by the law. There is also a lot of double standards in the law. If you’re the owner of a car conglomerate, and you outsource all your jobs to a third world country where you can exploit child labour, then you leave behind entire cities that fall into ruin.

Cities that often were built with the intent of accommodating automotive industry, that cannot be maintained without such an industry. An industry that was subsidised by the taxpayer.

So what happens then? Everything declines. The economy declines, the city budget declines, there are no jobs around, everything falls apart. Suddenly entire blocks are covered in graffiti, shattered windows, and urban decay. Entire districts that have no purpose, and where the only inhabitants are squatters and those who are driven to crime by desperation.

And if you do this as a rich man, then it is a hundred percent legal. BUT, if the poor should do one tenth of the damage rioting in protest of this outrageous abuse of public funds, if they were to cause superficial damage to these decaying and abandoned buildings, suddenly the law concerns itself with property damage. Suddenly news anchors decry that the poor are destroying their own communities without so much as a hint of irony or self awareness.

And that’s just one example of out of hundreds. We are quite audacious when we judge Sharia law, we should judge our own law first, since we can actually change that.

This isn’t a defense of Sharia law, it’s more to point out that if we don’t need to defend our law from the scrutiny of Afghanistan, then I don’t see why we’re entitled to a double standard.

Because when I look at Afghanistan I don’t see a rogue state, or a terror state, or an illegitimate country or whatever else people say when what they really want to say is “fair game.” What I see rather is us. I see Europeans. I see how Europeans were like 200 years ago. Before we had the luxuries of industry and mandatory literacy. Before we had the luxuries of cultural ministries and museums and public libraries.

I don’t think Afghanistan is a rogue state, I just think they’re in the same situation that Europe used to be in back when we were religious fundamentalists, and it wasn’t virtue and good graces that got us out of it. In fact, it was a lot of very brutal and exploitative ways by which we got wealth. Slavery, colonialism, war, imperialism. We owe our industrial economy to shameless and unadulterated plundering of others.

So now when we say that we’re going to sanction Afghanistan, that we’re going to refuse to give back their national money reserve, that we’re going to put them further into poverty, that we’re going to turn them into a country-shaped ghetto, then I just see hypocrites who are pouring fuel onto a fire.

Of course Afghanistan’s independence and state is legitimate, of course they have the same right to sovereignty as anyone else, and of course it goes without saying that the US Military can’t just steal all their gold and money just because of they think Afghanistan is full of religious fundamentalists.

In fact, as someone who observes the US from a very secular part of Europe, I’m not even going to begin to remark on the irony there. “Oh Afghanistan is full of religious nutcases, that’s why we’re going to use this money to maintain our trilateral agreements with Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

And I’m not going to be sardonic here and say they’re stupid. Because they’re not. They’re just liars, and they want that money. The politicians are going to give it to their rich friends. That’s how politics work. That’s what happens when rich people get their hands on lots of money, otherwise they wouldn’t be rich.

They say they’re going to use that money to compensate the victims of 9/11, which is in my opinion an extraordinarily creative spin on how they’re going to give the money to Wall Street.

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Vince

Vince

Scholar, minister, musician, engineer, technician, reformed criminal