Dispatches from the Creation Wars

This is Insane

The Afghani Christian man, Abdul Rahman, who was just released from jail after charges of apostasy were dropped against him, has been granted amnesty by Italy. Why not by the US? Your guess is as good as mine. With the whackos threatening to kill him anyway, the US military should have taken the man into protective custody, flew him to the US and given him amnesty. But Italy granted amnesty and the Afghani parliament – you know, the government we set up, the one that relies on our protection in order to exist – is demanding that the man be prevented from leaving the country.

Afghan lawmakers debated the issue Wednesday and said Rahman should not be allowed to leave the country. However, they did not take a formal vote on the issue.

“We sent a letter and called the Interior Ministry and demanded they not allow Abdul Rahman to leave the country,” parliamentary speaker Yunus Qanooni told reporters on behalf of the entire body.

This is absolutely insane. If he stays, he’ll be killed, everyone knows that. We managed to pressure them enough to drop the charges, but it’s now clear that this was all a ruse. It’s clear now that they have no intention of actually allowing this man to be free. All they really did was drop the formal charges to allow a de facto judicial system to act as judge, jury and executioner for the man. And all because they are so crazed in their religious fanaticism that they cannot stand the thought that someone believes differently than they do.

There is no reasoning with such people; they are immune to reason, incapable of it, even opposed to it. If we allow this sort of thing to go on, it makes a transparent sham of all of our rhetoric about bringing “democracy” to the country. If this is democracy, to hell with democracy. Freedom is what matters, not democracy. Allowing a democratic government to destroy liberty instead of a dictatorship only changes the face of your executioner.

Update: AP is reporting that he actually has left Afghanistan. Let’s hope so.

Comments

  1. #1 BigDumbChimp
    March 29, 2006

    That democracy and personal freedom bit is working out well in the newly “liberated” countries of the middle east.

  2. #2 tubi
    March 29, 2006

    You know, Islam is about 600 years younger as an organized religion than Catholicism. If you do the math, that puts them, developmentally, in the same place Catholics were in the early 1400′s. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of heretics and apostates that were tortured and executed by minions of the Pope during that period. It’s almost as if Islam has to grow and mature as a religion at its own pace, but can’t.

    That to me is one of the key sticking points in relations between the east and west right now. Also why I thought it was sadly amusing to see that Pope Benedict had thought to try to intervene on Rahman’s behalf. Where was the Pope when Michael Settler had his tongue cut out and chunks of flesh carved out of his torso with a burning hot dagger, before being burned at the stake, all for daring to suggest that infant baptism might not be biblically defensible? (Among other heresies) That’s right, he was signing the warrant.

  3. #3 Mark Paris
    March 29, 2006

    The pretense for dropping the charges, according to a report on NPR, was that they decided he was insane. Unfortunately, insanity is apparently not sufficient reason not to kill him.

    The whole democracy thing is taking a real turn in that part of the world.
    Apparently Bush didn’t have enough of the vision thing to see where his policies might lead.

  4. #4 dkew
    March 29, 2006

    I suspect Italy offered Rahman asylum, rather than amnesty. Maybe he belongs to some Christian sect that the American theocracy disavows, so he wasn’t offered asylum in the US.

  5. #5 Left_Wing_Fox
    March 29, 2006

    I don’t know if the age of the religeon has as much to do with the fact that so many predominantly muslim nations are dictatorial, and dictatorships often use religeon as a means of control. It helps add legitimacy to a despot’s reign when God depises the same people that the dictator does.

    I think the fact that US foreign policy through the Cold War preferred US-friendly dictators to USSR-friendly democracies has led in large part to the continued pre-Enlightenment political situation we find ourselves in now.

  6. #6 Corkscrew
    March 29, 2006

    Why is it that all political systems seem to lead either to tyranny of the majority or tyranny of the minority? Is this some kind of eternal law or something?

    Also, who’s Michael Settler?

  7. #7 Jer
    March 29, 2006

    Why isn’t the US offering asylum? Because Afghanistan would turn into a huge riot zone against the American soldiers there (I wondered about this myself, and this is the only reason I could think of). By letting some other nation take the man in, there is less reason to take it out on American soldiers in the field.

    tubi – Its not the same Pope, and that’s a ludicrous comparison. You can’t excuse things done in the modern world by comparisons to things done in the pre-Enlightenment era. We have a higher standard for human rights now now, and we should expect everyone (most especially our allies) to adhere to it.

    And Ed’s exactly right – liberty is the important part, not “democracy” or any other form of government that it comes in. Too many of our countrymen in the US have made a fetish of our form of government and miss the ideals that the government is there to protect and promote. Democracy without liberty is just sanctioned mob rule, and not an idea worthy of implementation.

  8. #8 Ick of the East
    March 29, 2006

    Not so insane, perhaps.
    Remember what happened when the US gave refuge to the Shah of Iran?

    Of course, everything else about the situation is insane.

  9. #9 Ed Brayton
    March 29, 2006

    Ick of the East wrote:

    Remember what happened when the US gave refuge to the Shah of Iran?

    I presume you mean the taking of the hostages, but that was not because we gave refuge to the Shah but because we had put the Shah in power and set him atop a mountain of American money and weaponry and watched as his secret police kidnapped people off the streets and used electric drills on them. For 25 years, we were the cause of their oppression under the Shah. That had far more to do with what happened than the insignificant fact that we then gave him asylum in the US.

  10. #10 Eric Seymour
    March 29, 2006

    Do we know that the US actually denied him asylum? If so, I suspect Jer may be right as to the reason we wanted someone else to take him. But it’s possible he just wanted to go to Italy. After all, it’s a little closer to home for him, and if he’s Roman Catholic it would be like a Jew moving to Israel. There’s also this from the article Ed linked:

    “Italy has close ties with Afghanistan, whose former king, Mohammed Zaher Shah, was allowed to live in exile in Rome with his family for 30 years.”

    BTW, the AP update now states that he’s arrived safely, thank God.

  11. #11 tubi
    March 29, 2006

    Michael Settler was an Austrian who was one of the founders of the Anabaptists, who morphed into various present-day sects, including Amish, Mennonite, Hutterites, and others. I think I’m remembering the name right.

    And I don’t think it is ludicrous. We live in an emnlightened age today because of, well, the Enlightenment, which the then paranoid Catholic Chruch tried to crush viciously and with malice. The Catholic Church has mellowed with age, and is now willing to tolerate dissenters living side by side with them. Of course they would still prefer to have an all Catholic planet, but they understand that can’t come by coercion but by persuasion.

    Islam hasn’t reached that point yet as a movement. The Enlightenment didn’t really affect the Arab world. Islam seems to be kind of being forced into a sped up enlightenment, but I don’t know that it is ready.

    Mind, I’m not condoning what’s happening in Afghanistan, just observing that a comparison can be made.

  12. #12 Ed Brayton
    March 29, 2006

    Eric Seymour wrote:

    Do we know that the US actually denied him asylum?

    No, but I didn’t say we’d denied asylum. I know that he said he wanted asylum a few days ago because he knew he’d be killed if released. Of course, we don’t know what has gone on behind the scenes. After release, he disappeared. It’s entirely possible that he was spirited away by US special forces and smuggled out of Kabul to an airstrip to get him out. I frankly hope that’s what happened, it would speak well of us. And I’m glad to hear he’s reached Italy safely. Of course, he’s still not out of danger entirely, as Salman Rushdie and the Danish cartoonists now living in hiding or under police protection can tell him. But he’s a lot safer than he was in Afghanistan, where his life expectancy could be measured with an egg timer.

  13. #13 Reed A. Cartwright
    March 29, 2006

    I wonder how long it will take the UN to issue a report blaming Rahman for offending Muslims’ freedom of religion.

  14. #14 Roman Werpachowski
    March 29, 2006

    The Afghani Christian man, Abdul Rahman, who was just released from jail after charges of apostasy were dropped against him, has been granted amnesty by Italy. Why not by the US?

    Maybe because Italy is closer to his home.

    Also why I thought it was sadly amusing to see that Pope Benedict had thought to try to intervene on Rahman’s behalf. Where was the Pope when Michael Settler had his tongue cut out and chunks of flesh carved out of his torso with a burning hot dagger, before being burned at the stake, all for daring to suggest that infant baptism might not be biblically defensible? (Among other heresies) That’s right, he was signing the warrant.

    And I thought that Pope Benedict’s worse crime was serving in Wehrmacht as a teenager. It seems he somehow slipped into past, to sign some death warrants. What a cruel bastard.

    Did you ever think about lambasting Bill Clinton for the fact that one XVIIIth century US president kept slaves? No way. But with the Popes, anything goes, right?

  15. #15 tubi
    March 29, 2006

    Wow.

    All I am saying is that people who have progressed beyond the Middle Ages sometimes forget that the organizations they represent had to suffer through those periods in the past, and that we need to think about the big picture and try to understand some of the motivations behind the decisions. Again, in no way am I saying that Rahman should be beheaded, but then, neither should a lot of other victims of religious persecution.

    And I wasn’t talking about the current Pope, but rather the 15th century Pope. I’m not blaming Benedict for the transgressions of his predecessors, just suggesting he should remain mindful of their legacy. If I sounded a little hard on him, I apologize, I never intended to besmirch his reputation.

  16. #16 Ed Brayton
    March 29, 2006

    I agree with Tubi completely about the need for an enlightenment period for Islam, but I don’t think that requires that we try to understand their motivations. We do understand their motivations – they’re power hungry fanatics whose zealotry makes them think they have a right to kill people. This was also true of much of Christianity a few hundred years ago, as tubi points out, but that was changed at least in part by condemnation and criticism and even mockery (Voltaire’s criticism of the church was very powerful).

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