On Sat, Sep 15, 2001 at 05:16:54PM -0700, Spike Jones wrote:
> There *must* be hordes in Afganistan and other oppressed places
> that would dance for joy if the Talibn is overthrown, like the munchkins
> when Dorothy dropped the mortgage on the WW of the W. For instance,
> what of all the Afgan gays? They must be quietly terrified over there,
> waiting waiting waiting for *someone* to come along and end the
> nightmare. What about the women with some inkling of freedom?
> What about the intellects? The nonreligious?
> Seems to me that the thing we do so very well today is information
> management. There should be some way to use our information
> handling skills to rip away the veil of ignorance and oppression.
This is a good point. The Taliban and Bin Laden are not popular at all
among the Afghans, since they are essentially the Jerry Falwells of the
islamic world and does indeed oppress people awfully (they are likely
far more popular among people not living under their rule). There is a
very real reason why there is so much fighting over there.
This suggests that helping the Afghans to cast off their fanatic rulers
would be worthwhile - we would get a lot of allies. One approach would
be to dump rugged communications equipment across the land, like the
wind up radio that was mentioned earlier. That would
make it easier for the oppressed to communicate, undermining the rule of
the Talibans (who seem sincerely opposed to any form of uncontrolled
communications). The ideal would be a wind-up satelite phone, but it
might be hard to get enough of those in a short time.
> just dont yet know how to get the message to them that there really
> really are no houris waiting, that houris were invented by some cowardly
> cleric to convince the young men to lay down their lives for a political
> cause, while the clerics enjoy the *real* virgins at home in this life.
> How do we break it to them? spike
I don't think those houris are the main reason (the whole list seems to
have gotten them on their collective brains :-). After all, most
christians today (including many otherwise fundamentalistic types) don't
think Heaven is a literal city with streets paved with gold sitting on a
cloud, right? Instead they believe the rewards would be just as good or
better than those houries, Allah will surely have a great imagination
when it comes to rewards. So what you should try to undermine is the
martyrdom meme, that being a martyr is a great thing. Part of this is
memetic, part of it is economical: if you have nothing to lose, and your
family will become honored and cared for, then martyrdom might feel
I think the idea of dropping Q'rans with commentary from islamic
scholars is a good idea. If we could get Al Azar university in Cairo to
proclaim a correct islamic denunciation of the deed, with the
accompanying analysis of the theology involved, that would have a
tremendous effect in the islamic world and help undermine the taliban
and others. But it has to be a correct, unbiased legal-theological
analysis to work, not just something ordered by the US or Egyptian
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