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She wants to go to school

The young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai simply wants to go to school and become a doctor. She was shot earlier this week. An arrest has been made of a number of suspects. The young girl has had one of two bullets removed from her body. She is on a ventilator and is listed in satisfactory condition.

“The school is owned and operated by the teenage activist's father, who takes great pride in his daughter's accomplishments and is a champion of education for girls.”

While we bicker over the political debates and FACEBOOK our platform preferences, we forget that the privilege to do so is not universally shared. Many around the world are voicing their good thoughts and prayers for the survival of one amazing, brave teen-age girl – who dared to speak her truth.


(S-R archives photo)

Pakistanis Level Bin Laden Compound

In this combo of two pictures, a Pakistani woman and children stand next to the remained boundary wall of Osama bin Laden's compound earlier today, top, and, heavy machinery demolishes the main building of bin Laden's compound on Sunday, bottom, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have reduced the house where bin Laden lived for years before he was killed by U.S. commandos to rubble, destroying a concrete symbol of the country's association with one of the world's most reviled men. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)


Ground Zero For Bin Laden

A Pakistani woman photographs her daughter at a gate of the compound where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught and killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan Thursday. The residents of Abbottabad were still confused and suspicious about the killing of bin Laden, which took place in their midst before dawn on Monday. (AP Photo/Aqeel Ahmed)

Question: Will this compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, become a shrine?

Victory in Afghanistan?

Good morning, Netizens…

I have read rather extensively about life in Afghanistan from a remarkable number of scholarly authors, and in each new book I have read, I have heard how culturally isolated the entire country lives. If you take the modern-day convenience such as television, and compare the number of televisions per citizen, you will realize that once you leave the major cities, televisions, and thus from them, news reports are at best, word-of-mouth. Thus you will see how the people live.

Thus, David Horsey’s cartoon this morning is closer to reality than perhaps we might think.

Then you add the rugged terrain, the number of times Western Civilization has broken promises to the Afghanis and the number of countries who have attempted to defeat them in war unsuccessfully, and then add their dismal employment numbers, you have a country that truly is living in midieval times.

What is truly frightening, however, is through their neighbor Pakistan, they may gain access to atomic weaponry. Stone-age cultures should never have access to such things. Of course, since I cannot speak for the US State Department, and thus speaking from my own opinion, your results may differ.


The Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Good morning, Netizens…

What is the light at the end of the tunnel in Afghanistan?

Some say it is the elimination of the Taliban. Several nations have made valiant attempts at rescuing Afghanistan from itself and failed. Although President Obama inherited the war in Afghanistan, is there a clear pathway leading us to closure there?

Have we started a war with no logical end, or is Afghanistan the modern-day version of Vietnam?


The Grapes of Wrath Revisited?

Good morning, Netizens…

Having been an avid fan of John Steinbeck’s writing for decades, when I first glanced at this picture this morning, my mind warped back to Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and the Joad family fleeing the Dust Bowl for the promise(s) of a better life in California.

Granted, the truck is a little newer than the 1920’s model from the award-winning movie that featured Henry Fonda, but sure enough, there is Granny sitting on the back of the truck as they weave their way across the sand-blasted sered desert looking for shelter. If you close your eyes and screw your face up a bit, you can easily imagine the dangers that the Joads faced in the eyes of Steinbeck being reincarnated in Pakistan today. The only difference between then and now is the camp guards now have automatic weapons and mine fields surround the work camps.

Still, there is that indomitable will to find a safe place to call home, where food is plentiful and the next generation of children can safely grow up carrying their family’s history in their hearts. Somehow I wish Steinbeck were alive today, for I know in my heart of hearts he would see the sadness, the pageantry and the strange beauty of the desert and these families seeking a place to live, again and again.

Like the Grapes of Wrath, as the story unfolds in Pakistan, it, too, would become an award-winning novel and perhaps then with learning would come compassion for these people.


A shout out for Maria

Sen. Maria Cantwell got a mention from President Obama Friday in his speech about Afghanistan and Pakistan.

She was one of three members of Congress cited by the president as he backed their idea on economic development for the war-torn region. Cantwell, Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Peter Hoekstra have proposed “Reconstruction Opportunity Zones” for those areas, where most goods that are made there could be imported to the United States duty-free. 

To qualify, a proposed ROZ would have to make progress toward establishing a market-based economy and the rule of law, protecting of human rights and workers’ rights, and other key benchmarks.

It was one of two bills Obama said he wanted Congress to pass to help his policies to the two ‘Stans.