Sgt. Shawn Eades, Cpl. Dustin Roy Robert Joseph Wasden and Sapper Stephan John Stock were killed by an IED on Thursday, August 21, 2008. Their deaths bring to 93 the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. As is their custom, Canada’s political leaders wrapped their corpses in bloody lies and tired platitudes.
“Today, all of Canada mourns the deaths of three brave soldiers killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. “These soldiers made an important contribution to international efforts in Afghanistan aimed at creating the conditions necessary for reconstruction and development efforts to flourish in a country ravaged by decades of war and despotism.”
“Canada and our NATO allies are making a profound difference in the lives of the Afghan people,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay also said in a statement Thursday. “Despite this tragic event, we remain undeterred in our mission to help Afghans rebuild their country.”
What a load of crap! Their deaths will do nothing to repair the ravages of “decades of war and despotism.” If anything, the war will only prolong it.
These soldiers (and the people they kill) are being sacrificed to shore up an irredeemably feudal, reactionary government of warlords and drug runners who are every bit as nasty as the Taliban regime they replaced.
Apologists for the war insist that the NATO forces are making a positive difference in the lives of ordinary Afghans. They remind us that the government of Hamid Karzai was elected, that girls are being allowed to go to school, that life is getting better.
Read some of these stories and explain, please, how Afghan life is improving.
August 24, 2008
August 23, 2008
PAN: 50 civilians were killed and many residential houses were destroyed on Wednesday night in coalition air strike in Shindand district of western Herat province. The young boy who wounded in the bombardment. (Photo: PAJHWOK/Ahmad Quraishi)
The Canadian government, when it gets around to admitting that we kill civilians, will issue regrets, remind us that the Taliban terrorists kill civilians all the time and even pay compensation. Reporting in the National Post earlier this year, Tom Blackwell wrote:
The federal government has paid out tens of thousands of dollars in compensation to Afghans who have been hurt, killed or had property wrecked by Canadian troops in the past two years, internal documents obtained by the National Post indicate.
The list of reparations paid by the middle of last year includes five cases of civilians injured or killed at the hands of Canadian troops and three friendly-fire deaths of Afghan soldiers or police.
Compensation for deaths ranged from about $2,000 to almost $9,000, according to Justice Department claims reports, obtained under the Access to Information Act but censored of much personal and other information. None of the claims dealt with damage from air strikes called in by Canadian troops.
Apologists will sigh that civilian casualties are regrettable but unavoidable aspect of war, but that we’ve got to keep our eyes on the prize: a free and democratic Afghanistan where the current horrors will be justified by future happy outcomes.
Afghans aren’t impressed by this. Here is what the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan had to say, March 8, 2008, about the current regime:
The true nature of the US “war on terror” drama has been exposed today and we witness that they are killing thousands of our innocent people under the name of “fighting terrorists” while on the other hand they are busy in dealing with the barbaric fascist Taliban trying to gloss some of them as “moderates” in order to share power with them. These treacherous acts of demagogy have revealed it once again to our people and to the world that the US government and its allies were just pursuing their strategic, economic and political gains in Afghanistan and pushing our people to increasing destitution and disasters. Installing the “Northern Alliance” brutal warlords on power and changing Afghanistan into the center of the world drug mafia, have been the first and foremost objectives of their wrong policies.
RAWA from the very first days stated that no country will grant freedom and democracy to another country and today this reality is evident to all. The US disguised the dead rats of yesterday with suits and ties thus released them like wild wolves on our people and are doing nothing about the current crimes, violation of human rights, looting of millions dollars of aid by warlords and corrupt NGOs. If the billions of dollars of aid directed in the name of reconstruction were not poured in the pockets of criminals in the parliament and cabinet, natural hazards like freezing winter would have not taken so many lives today. Even if a small portion of that money was spent for the relief of people, the life conditions of our miserable people, particularly women would have not been so tragic.
RAWA has been fighting for human rights in Afghanistan since 1977. They want us to leave so the people of Afghanistan can solve their own problems, free of foreign interference. They know the danger they face and they believe we are only making matters worse. We should listen to them.
Still not convinced?
Still not convinced? Well, here are some more stories that show what RAWA is fighting and what our soldiers are dying to maintain.
- Blaming the victim: Abused Afghan women often end up in jail: “Trafficked across the border from Pakistan with her 3-year-old son, Rukhma was handed to an Afghan who raped and abused her, then beat the toddler to death as she watched helplessly. He was jailed for 20 years for murder, but Rukhma . . . was given a four-year sentence on Dec. 5 for adultery and “escaping her house” in Pakistan, even though she says she was kidnapped and raped. The fall of the Taliban six years ago heralded new rights for Afghan women: to go to school or get a job, and be protected under the law. Women’s rights are now enshrined in the constitution. Yet except for a small urban elite, a woman fleeing domestic violence or accusing a man of rape herself often ends up the guilty party in the eyes of judges and prosecutors.”
- The Afghan women jailed for being victims of rape: “. . . the teenager had been married at a young age to an abusive husband and ran away with a boy from her neighbourhood . . . Ostracised from her family and village, Saliha was convicted of escaping from home and illegal sexual relations. The first carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, the second 20. These are two of the most common accusations facing female prisoners in Afghanistan. Two-thirds of the women in Lashkar Gah’s medieval-looking jail have been convicted of illegal sexual relations, but most are simply rape victims – mirroring the situation nationwide. The system does not distinguish between those who have been attacked and those who have chosen to run off with a man.”
- Childhood ends at 11 for some Afghan girls; for others, an education begins:” . . . Girls as young as 11 are considered just old enough for a husband. Their parents collect lucrative $10,000 dowries from wealthy grooms-to-be, and these pre-teens are sent off to become housewives and start raising families. Last year 60 Kandahar girls sought to escape their fate through suicide, provincial officials say. Like Sher, many wound up as hospital burn victims after dousing themselves with gasoline and setting themselves ablaze . . .”
Shahnaz,14, sits on the floor of her family home November 17, 2006 in Herat, Afghanistan. She tried to commit suicide a year ago practically crippling herself from the severe burns after her father lost her in a gambling match. She spent a year in the Herat hospital. The medical staff at the Herat hospital says that they have registered around 700 self-immolation cases so far this year. (Photo by Paula Bronstein)
Do something useful
RAWA wants us to leave — not because they support the Taliban — they clearly do not. They want us to leave because we are not helping Afghans; worse, we are an obstacle to them solving their numerous problems.
RAWA operates schools, orphanages, a hospital and a health clinic. Canadians who truly want to help should demand that Canada withdraw its military and provide financial support to an organization that truly works for human rights and women’s liberation in Afghanistan. And given that it is unlikely that the Canadian government is prepared to do so, we should send financial support directly to RAWA for their humanitarian programs.
- Contact your MP, here. Tell them we are tired of bloody lies and tired platitudes.
- Send financial support to RAWA, here. They really need our help. Please don’t delay.