Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Good Old Days; Well Maybe Not...

I still remember how often my Mom would extol the "good old days" in our conversations. I even find myself falling into the delusional trap as I age in this chaotic world of ours. Two articles in this morning's paper reminded me of how skewed memories can become.

I grimaced at bit at a photo of Obama with his hand on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez's shoulder at the Summit of the Americas. It made me think about how dangerous appeasement can be. This type of "touchy feely" diplomacy requires a delicate touch lest it be considered such. Right above the photo was headline Freed radical cleric seeks Islamic law for Pakistan.

Pakistani President Asif Aki Zardari, along with Parliament, released this man from prison. It's important to remember Pakistan is fast becoming a failed state under the leadership of a man who achieved the Presidency on the back of his assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto. She was corrupt. He was known as Mr. 10%. The implications are obvious.

Just recently he allowed the reinstatement of Islamic law in the Swat Valley. Now, in one more concession, this man who is supposedly an ally, has released this cleric who had barely cleared the prison walls before beginning his drive to spread Islamic law nationwide. This is a chilling event for our efforts to curb the Taliban and eliminate safe havens for al Qada. How the Pakistanis can forget what Islamic law is all about is beyond me. I can think of nothing more oppressive. Especially for women.

It isn't just Pakistan either. The law recently passed in Afghanistan giving men renewed power over their wives has created a chaotic response. The most disturbing part of protests, however, is when some women actually sided with the men in pelting the opposition with stones. What sort of memories does this law evoke in those women? Was their life that good? Or have they effectively shut it out because it was anything but? I haven't a clue as to how they think. That's a large part of the problem.

The cheery morning paper brought it even closer to home and I have a hunch the good people of northern Idaho will not even consider appeasement. Another headline read Racist group leaves fliers on lawns. It would seem the Aryan Nations have once again raised their ugly heads. A local neighborhood has been targeted for recruitment.

Many of us who live in the area know the movement did not disappear with the death of one time leader Richard Butler. This was as recent as 2004! Heck, he even ran for mayor of Hayden shortly before he died and one of his henchmen ran for city council but couldn't vote. He was in jail. For assault on a Hispanic in a grocery store parking lot.

The organization split, part going to Pennsylvania and part to Alabama. Some remained. I know how the people here feel about them. They will never think of their heyday as the good old days. It will always be a source of embarrassment to the community.

What does one circumstance in Pakistan have to do with another in northern Idaho? Both are doing it under the guise of religion. How so? The fliers were signed "Aryan Nations Church of Jesus Christ Christian".


No comments: