selling your daughter for £50,
February 4, 2002 6:46 AM   Subscribe

selling your daughter for £50, sounds like things are infinitely better for the inhabitants of afghanistan. They must be beside themselves with gratitude.
posted by johnnyboy (24 comments total)
As much as this is a depressing article, it is wise not to forget that this situation exists in a lot of other places around the world.

If it only garners interest due to it being a story related to afghanistan, then the story serves no purpose, if you changed afghanistan and the muslim names of the individuals presented, the story could be about a lot of countries.
posted by bittennails at 6:59 AM on February 4, 2002

Hhmmm. Apparently because in the space of a month life has not been magically transformed for the entirety of Afghanistan from what it's been for the years under the Taliban rule (and before), some sort of cynical comment about gratitude is justified? Interesting. Not sure what you're saying here. The US shouldn't have gone in? The US should go in, but should make sure they give aid to every remote region within the space of a few weeks?
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:59 AM on February 4, 2002

sounds like things are infinitely better for the inhabitants of afghanistan. They must be beside themselves with gratitude.

If making things "inifinitely better" is the standard, then we can all give up now. For those of us heartless enough to be satisfied with the merely finitely better, there is some evidence of improvement.

posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:01 AM on February 4, 2002

Slavery is freedom. War is peace. We indeed live in Orwellian times ..

"Military intervention, even if it means lost innocent lives on both sides, can serve the most humanitarian of goals. "

Sure it can. We see this constantly, don't we ?

Military intervention is about economics, time & again.
posted by Mondo at 7:07 AM on February 4, 2002

perhaps you are attempting to high-light the gulf between the rhetoric of the TWAT and the reality of life for the inhabitants of afghanistan. Perhaps if the PR people had thought better of promoting the idea that the bombing of afghanistan was precipitated by the suffering of the population under the taliban, and that they would benefit from it, rather than the idea that it was solely for the benefit of the us, we wouldn't have the feeling that we had been lied to.
Yes, things are worse in afghanistan than they have been in years. Yes the war has exascerbated the situation. Yes chucking cash an issue is not neccessarily going to change the situation for the majority of the population who live in outlieing villages.
More later, when i have talked to my friend who has recently returned from Islamabad, where they were working for CNN.
posted by asok at 7:23 AM on February 4, 2002

Sure it can. We see this constantly, don't we ?

Good grief. Do you whiners have *anything* to back up your hyperbole? The NY Times article makes specific claims about specific improvements. Do you have *any* evidence that what it says isn't true?

posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:25 AM on February 4, 2002

Shit man, we gave 'em about a billion Pop Tarts... whaddya want?
posted by spilon at 7:50 AM on February 4, 2002

According to the World Bank there has been slow but steady improvement of health standards in Afghanistan since 1980.
I don't know about the specific improvements mentioned in the article. In a few years we will have a statistical view on the overall effect of the war on the coutry's population. It is too soon to tell.
BTW I'm willing to wager that secular pro-Soviet governments had a great positive impact on health and literacy conditions in Afghanistan. Should one therefore rush to proclaim that Soviet intervention in Afghanistan had humanitarian aims?
posted by talos at 7:50 AM on February 4, 2002

Whiners. Hyperbole ?

Whatever are you talking about ?

One needs to be wilfully blind to consider the vast majority of military interventions in the past 20 years to be about anything but economics and advancing the NWO.

Friends become ex-friends and the "Next Hitler". Human rights violations that were winked at become grounds for bombing. Hint: Taleban used to be friends. Until the Unocal pipeline deal fell through. They were in Texas as recently as 1998. Reagan introduced them at the White House back in the 80's, comparing them to America's own founding fathers.

Z Mag
posted by Mondo at 7:59 AM on February 4, 2002

Shit man, we gave 'em about a billion Pop Tarts... whaddya want?
yeah. and in a few months, his daughter will be a big star in alt.binaries.naked-little-kids. what's he bitching about?
posted by quonsar at 8:03 AM on February 4, 2002

a million pop tarts, it is a start. I never mentioned the U.S, us whiners this side of the pond are just as pathetic and impotent. Afghanistan has been used as a macroscopic experiment in guerilla warfare since 1979 , moreover its needs have been consistently ignored.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:04 AM on February 4, 2002

Ahh, yet another deperate attempt by the Guardian to put their bitter, dreary spin on the world. Those who would wish true social improvement in countries like Afghanistan seem as unwilling to let go of the past and its mistakes as the people who made the mistakes in the first place. Progress doesn't happen by griping about the past.

And I must say, the wording of and choice of link for this FPP screams troll. There are a few valiant attempts above to try and salvage an interesting discussion from this, but those attempts are certainly not encouraged by the poster himself. When did humanitarian concern turn into such a darkly cynical and pessimistic exercise?

MeFi has been having too many flame-bait free days, I suppose.

posted by evanizer at 8:10 AM on February 4, 2002

Yowza, ease up a little on each other, gang! The Afghans who live in the areas that are difficult to reach with humanitarian aid have a right to speak their piece just as much as anybody else.

Quite possibly the best anyone can hope for in Afghanistan is a Chekovian tragedy. "In the conclusion of the tragedy by Chekhov, everyone is disappointed, disillusioned, embittered, heartbroken, but alive."
posted by sheauga at 8:34 AM on February 4, 2002

One needs to be wilfully blind to consider the vast majority of military interventions in the past 20 years to be about anything but economics and advancing the NWO.

The original poster wasn't talking about "the vast majority of military interventions in the past 20 years; he was specifically referring to the current intervention in Afghanistan.

The NYT article that I posted a link to has statistics suggesting that things may indeed be getting better for the general population. So far, the naysayers in this thread have nothing more concrete to offer in rebuttal than their terribly sophisticated world-weary cynicism. Maybe the Afghans can make a stew out of that.

posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:45 AM on February 4, 2002

I would normally criticize a man who sells his daughter, but since I cannot fathom, even in the most remote depth of my mind, what he is going through, I cannot find it within me to demonize what he did. I don't care where it is happening, it is sad that this kind of hunger is happening anywhere, but I don't know what we can do. If money that our country is providing won't help, what will?
posted by aacheson at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2002

I cannot find it within me to demonize what he did

Save me your empathy, some things are just evil.
posted by Mick at 9:35 AM on February 4, 2002

Yes, horrible.
*slides £50 back into wallet*
Listen.. uh.. I think I misunderstood what was going down at this thread-
(backs away towards exit)
-so I'm just gonna go...
posted by dong_resin at 9:50 AM on February 4, 2002

Mick, I think it's horrible, but it's not like what he did is looked down up in the culture. Women are sold like cows all over the Muslim world. It's awful, but if I and my whole family were starving and days from death and it wasn't that far from the cultural norm, I would probably do it too. However, being a woman, I would probably be the one being sold.
posted by aacheson at 10:09 AM on February 4, 2002

Too-shay, d_r. You hit it.
posted by sheauga at 10:12 AM on February 4, 2002

Mondo, how could the Taliban have been introduced by Reagan in the 1980s, when the movement did not begin until after the end of Reagan's -- indeed, BUSH's -- presidency, after the departure of the Soviets, after the cessation of United States military aid under the Soviet-Afghan armistice, and after the failure of the interim government which we supported? Get your timeline right if you expect to be a reputable poster. The Taliban are not the mujahedin. Massoud was the premier mujahedin commander, and the Taliban never did defeat him; and his side was the Northern Alliance, which we ended up supporting. We never gave military support to the Taliban -- most of the help they got was from the Saudis, Paks, and Chinese. Putting our wan efforts at diplomacy -- which failed, by the way -- on the same level as that reveals either a vast gulf of ignorance on your part, or a willingness to distort that is even more troublesome.

And to suggest that we shouldn't have been friendly with a government which had not YET turned into a crazy theofascist regime suggests that we can only make foreign policy with the aid of a time machine.

talos, good points about the Soviets, but if you're suggesting that our brief weeks of war, which even using the inflammatory estimates of an anti-war professor of women's studies, some 4000, are a mere fraction of the 1 million deaths during the entire space of the 12-year Soviet-Afghan war, not to mention the 500,000 of the Taliban's war, suggests that somehow American bombs have worse health effects than Russian or Taliban bombs by many factors of ten. Or maybe they're the only ones considered important to discuss?
posted by dhartung at 10:50 AM on February 4, 2002

But despite such appalling standards in this fourth consecutive year of drought, the international community is focused on bolstering the government in Kabul, solidifying the new Afghanistan built as the US and its allies would wish it.

I don't understand why the Guardian assumes the two are mutually exclusive, as if nation building precludes humanitarian actions.
posted by lizs at 11:53 AM on February 4, 2002

If we ignore the collatoral damage (people) this was a very successful campaign.

If significantly less people die in the next few years than would have under the Taliban, then even taking into account the "collateral damage", it's been a successful campaign.

posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:52 PM on February 4, 2002

skallas, Armitage was responding specifically to the claims made in the NYT piece which he posted earlier in the thread: that the Taliban regime's existence alone caused some 500,000 deaths and that removing them should reduce the deaths, both through repression and ongoing war.

The argument has little to do with the assertion that removing the Taliban was necessary to prevent further terror attacks against the West, although clearly that was the primary military justification, and which was alone sufficient basis for the war under international law regarding self-defense.

In any war the assumption is that you are protecting your own citizens at the expense of those of the enemy. To argue otherwise -- that any attack should be judged as if it were against a target on your own soil, for instance -- is to argue flatly against war, given the limitations of modern technology.
posted by dhartung at 12:13 AM on February 5, 2002

dhartung: of course the scale (of US vs. Soviet intervention) is not comparable. No argument there. But the principle stated in the linked article is that somehow you can balance estimates of future benefits and real casualties. That is pure sophistry. First of all there is no doubt that the war in Afghanistan resulted in many indirect deaths and illnesses as an already dire food situation became impossible and for a significant amount of time there was no food relief for the displaced population. These casualties are not included in mr. Kristof's assessment of the situation.
Second there is no precedent I can remember that might lead one to hope that relief efforts will remain at the same levels as current, when the spotlight is removed from the region. So any forecasts about the next few years are risky. Furthermore the current regime (as indeed the mudjahedeen regime that controlled Afghanistan before the Taliban) is only marginally better than the Taliban when it comes to human rights, as RAWA indicates in a statement about the Northern Alliance.
Also you claim that: In any war the assumption is that you are protecting your own citizens at the expense of those of the enemy. True, but as far as I know there was no war declared against Afghanistan, the Taliban were never recognized as a legitimate government of the country, and therefore there are no enemy civilians in this case.
Also I remind you that Osama Bin Laden was one of those Mudjahedeen that the US trained and supported so the line between the Taleban and the mudjahedeen is not as clear cut as you assume. Generally supporting religious fundamentalists is a very dangerous idea.
posted by talos at 2:15 AM on February 5, 2002

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