Wednesday, April 29, 2009
We're Men, We're Men in Robes...
We roam around Swat in high hopes.
We're men, we're men in robes.
We flog the women, sever hands of the men, that's right.
Beware if your beard's too short, and Allah forbid if your clothes are too tight.
We may look all look like off to our beds,
But watch what you say or we'll cut off your heads.
We're men, we're men in robes.
Too bad for you if you love your evening bourbon.
You will surely repent and wear a black turban,
and join us so we can together be...
Men, men in robes.
(apologies to Mel Brooks and the lyrics to "We're men, we're men in tights" from Robin Hood: Men in Tights)
Have you heard of the latest band of uhhh...not-so-merry men? You know, the ones who marched up to the Pakistani capital, indulged in some nuclear saber-rattling, then went back to their caves? They, of the fabulous floggings, the glorious keepers of the faith? Those who denounce Pakistan and its government as impure and Islamically false...and damn any *agreements* they might have signed?
Yep! The Taliban in a major push to capture hearts and minds all over Pakistan are doing the whole robbing from the rich, giving to the poor schtick. Not to mention, they are dispensing justice, even if it takes unsavoury forms, to the common people of that country.
This is undoubtedly an easy snake-oil to sell since the government of Pakistan does seem to losing control over larger and larger parts of the country. It's scary. I feel for normal, every-day Pakistanis but they need to stand up against this take-over. As a person of Indian origin, I fear for what might happen if the Pakistani government does fall. We are used to a state of armed tension with Pakistan. But not a fully Talibanized Pakistan. That is scary!
At least when the Taliban were just in Afghanistan they unleashed their horrors on just their own people. But I think they've tasted true, trans-national power now. They know the eyes of the world are on them, that they cannot hide away. More than thay. They refuse to. They are proud to be students of Islam and the keepers of its promise. I believe they are eager and ready to take on the evil, unIslamic world of kafirs and to them, India is at this point, the major heathen sitting on their doorstep. And with both countries being nuclear now, that is a terrifying prospect.
The fact that the Pakistani government (or successive governments really) has failed its people so badly that they would trade them for the Taliban is horrifying to me.
This is CNN finds that "In radio broadcasts and sermons, Taliban militants have been promoting themselves as Islamic Robin Hoods, defending Pakistan's rural poor from a ruling elite that they describe as corrupt and oppressive."
Here's another report about the Talibani Robin Hoods in The Times.
I think perhaps the Taliban themselves and indeed some others in Pakistan do see them as romantic Robin Hood-like figures. They are the outsiders, the little guys taking on large, imperialistic forces. They talk of honor, of bringing true justice, of taking out corruption, of rooting out injustice, of imbuing peopel with pride. And they are partly right, of course. But they don't talk of the other horrors waiting in their Trojan Horse, ready to be unleashed: oppression, atrocities, the curtailment of personal freedoms, and unrelenting violence.
I hope the people find a different way, a better way. If not, I fear we are all on our way to a hellish future.