Around the world, something quite extraordinary is happening. Muslim and Hindu, Shiite and Sunni and Sufi, religious and secular, Pakistani and Afghan, are united in praying for the swift and complete recovery of Malala, who is called, “beloved,” “The Ambassador of Peace and Education,” “braveheart,” “the brilliant brain,” “saviour of girls.” Pakistan and Afghanistan have both held special ceremonies and a national day of prayer. People have been photographed in the streets with tears running down their faces. We see pictures of girls holding up signs saying, “I am Malala.”
Though she has been transformed by myth and the coincidence of her name to the national heroine of Afghanistan, Malalai of Marwand, we should not forget that Malala is a 14-year-old girl with dear friends and a loving family whose hearts ache for her.
My Malalai is living, and they praise others’ beauty.
Though they have eyes, they are blind.
“When gun-toting men stopped their school wagon in Mingora last Tuesday around 12.45 p.m. asking for Malala Yousafzai, none of the three girls inside spoke. This, despite the terrorists threatening to shoot all of them if they did not identify Malala.
Today, stirred by the braveheart, who dared to stand up to the Taliban, and her friends, Shazia and Kainat, who refused to identify her even under threat, girls across Pakistan are saying ‘I am Malala.’
This is happening not just on the social media – which offers a degree of anonymity and security – but also on television and on the streets; some with their faces uncovered. ‘I-am-Malala’ has been trending not just in Pakistan but also in Afghanistan where girls’ education is equally at risk from the very same elements.
On Saturday, the Afghanistan Education Ministry organised a nationwide prayer for her at schools. She is being likened to ‘Malalai of Maiwand,’ the ‘Afghan Joan of Arc’ who rallied the Pashtun army against the British in 1880.”
Friends of Pakistani girl shot by Taliban vow ‘never to be subdued by militants
Malala Yousafzai: a young Pakistani heroine
OVER A COFFEE : Attacking Malala: the soul of Pakistan — Dr Haider Shah
Copyright © 2012 Henry Edward Hardy
Here is my response to “Why Wikileaks is Wrong” by Amy Bruckman:
Amy, your argument falls by the categorical imperative: if your argument was correct, then any government openness would be bad and all government information should be classified. You are opposing and undermining the very essence of democracy.
“The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.”
quoted in Kantrowitz, “The Weapon of Openness,” in Crandall and Lewis, “Nanotechnology, Research and Perspectives,” 1992
Wikileaks has received the 2008 Economist Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award and the 2009 Amnesty International Human Rights Reporting Award (New Media).
Please reconsider your analysis in this light. Let’s talk about this.
You quote a five step test for when to whistleblow. Here are my responses regarding the war in Afghanistan and whether or not whistleblowing is justified in this context.
1 Do you believe the problem may result in ‘serious and considerable harm to the public’?
The war in Afghanistan has resulted in 1338 confirmed deaths of US personnel and tens of thousands of Afghan deaths, mostly civilians. The US has conducted and condoned assassinations, secret disappearances and kidnappings, torture and rape, all contrary to US and international law.
2 Have you told your manager your concerns about the potential harm?
In November, 2001 I attempted to bring a written resolution before the Washtenaw County Democratic Party opposing the War in Afghanistan. It was ruled out of order by the chair without being submitted to discussion or a vote.
I went to the Rules Committee to ask for a rule permitting debate on my resolution. I was told, “Henry you can stay but if you open your mouth, if you say one word, you will be arrested and removed by force if necessary.”
3 Have you tried every possible channel within the organization to resolve the problem?
Since 2001, I have attended public meetings, written extensively in my blog, written repeatedly to my congresspeople and spoken to several of them in person. I have stood on a street corner by the Ann Arbor Federal Building holding a sign on many cold winter days, often alone.
4 Have you documented evidence that would persuade a neutral outsider that your view is correct?
There is ample evidence that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable, that it serves no strategic purpose, that it is an illegal war of aggression under US and “customary” international law (in particular, the Nuremberg Principles). And bin Laden is not there, he is in Pakistan, protected by our “ally”.
5 Are you reasonably sure that if you do bring this matter to public attention, something can be done to prevent the anticipated harm?”
I am not sure that what Wikileaks has done will prevent the anticipated harm. But I think it will help. I am sure that if nothing is done, the harms will continue and intensify.
Having said that, I myself would not access or release data in this manner, because I think it would be professionally unethical from the perspective of the System Administrator’s Code of Ethics.
Henry Edward Hardy
Copyright © 2010 Henry Edward Hardy
A response to Ron Suarez’ A New Ann Arbor City Council Resolution to End the War in Iraq?
Note: the antiwar resolution mentioned on Ron’s site was passed by the Ann Arbor City Council in March, 2007.
I received this request from Michigan Peaceworks to support a new Ann Arbor City Council resolution that would hopefully push Congress to bring an end to the war in Iraq…
Here is their [Michigan Peaceworks] Proposed wording for a City Council Resolution:
We urge Congress to move in a bi-partisan way to address war policies in the Middle East. The United States now spends more on military defense than all other nations combined, but the world is less safe than when we embarked on our present policies. It is time for Congress to provide leadership by:
* re-establishing its on-going, joint authority with the President over war powers and war expenditures
* using Congressional appropriations authority to protect our troops by establishing conditions for their mobilization and deployment, conditions and time-lines for their return home, and needed assistance to veterans of our recent wars
* providing international humanitarian leadership
* developing a humanitarian budget to meet non-military needs of the worlds’ people, including our own
* using Congressional oversight to help strengthen international cooperation in peace-building
…But, I could use help identifying other government officials who could use a nudge in the correct direction.
John Dingell. He often wears red.
His recent antiwar resolution, HR 3938 sounds good at first in that it reportedly withdraws the use of force authorization. The full text was not yet on Thomas when I wrote this. But the 2009 timeframe is too long. And this is a political cover for Dingell in that it distracts from what matters, which is his votes for the appropriations for the wars. Dingell’s resolution won’t pass both houses, and if it did it would be vetoed. He knows that.
If a majority of the House would refuse any more defense authorizations the war would end. Soon. Maybe some mainline Democrats want the war to continue. It is good for the business of the people who give them money. One hopes Dingell would not be in this category.
We need to focus in the short term on amending or defeating war appropriations. Resolutions like the proposed council resolution and HR 3938 give political cover to mainline Democrats who feel pressure from an increasingly frustrated public. But they don’t end the war. They give it political cover to continue.
What does Peaceworks mean that Congress should “move in a bi-partisan way?” Isn’t that kind of like a three-legged sack race? Seriously are the Democrats supposed to wait to defund the war until the Republicans turn into a pro-peace, anti-war party? This is a poor idea at best.
The Peaceworks resolution’s reference to “joint authority” between the president and Congress over “war spending and war powers” is inaccurate. The Constitution reserves these powers to Congress alone.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ….
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; …
The president is an executive of the People, who acting through their Legislature, make the laws and raise taxes. We rely on the President to obey and fairly enforce the laws, not to ignore, make, or break them. The president is not a sovereign. Bush is not “King (or warlord) of America”.
HR 2638: Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.
HR 2642: Making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, in committee.
And we need to oppose any more continuing resolutions like Democratic sponsored H.J.RES.52: Making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2008, and for other purposes, which Bush signed September 29, 2007.
Bush and the House and Senate Democrats like Dingell and Stabenow are pretending to disagree over the war to appeal to their base constituencies, while they are collaborating in continuing to fund it. I don’t have the same issue with Carl Levin, he and John Rockefeller have been fighting very hard behind closed doors on the war, concentration camps, and surveillance issues for a long time now.
What’s the cost to the citizen? Tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead; Thousands of American casualties; Military suicides and fragging incidents on the rise; America’s democracy and reputation in ruins; and $8,000 per person in the US through the next ten years. Or, if you want to look at it another way, $80,000 per person in Iraq. We could have bought all of Iraq intact for less than what it is costing to destroy it.
Feel-good resolutions without the force of law are a distraction and an impediment to holding our legislators accountable for real effective actions to end this garrison state of permanent war and neoconservative-neofascist oppression.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
The War Prayer
film by Markos Kounalakis
illustrations: Akis Dimitrakopoulos
voiced by: Peter Coyote, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Erik Bauersfeld
The War Prayer
By Mark Twain
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.
It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came-next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams-visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender!-then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation — “God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!”
Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever–merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory -
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there, waiting.
With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,”Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside — which the startled minister did — and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said
“I come from the Throne-bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import-that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of-except he pause and think.
“God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this-keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
“You have heard your servant’s prayer-the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it-that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory-must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle-be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it-for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
(After a pause)
“Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
Scanlyze: This bitter short story is in line with Twain’s later dark and ironic writing, particularly The Mysterious Stranger. It is rather more reminiscent of the writings of Ambrose Bierce than of Twain’s earlier, better known works such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Of The War Prayer, Twain reportedly said,
I don’t think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.
The War Prayer was written in response to the US invasion of the Phillipines during the Spanish-American War, an imperialistic war in many ways not dissimilar from the US invasion of Iraq 104 years later. I wonder if Twain was not inspired by the first chapter of Isaiah:
And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Oh yes, did I forget to yell, “Support the Troops!”
USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
A New ‘Great Game’ In Afghanistan?
The head of the British Army has made clear Britain’s quasi-imperial ambitions in Central Asia. The British Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt says that Britain is, “On the edge of a new and deadly Great Game in Afghanistan.” The “Great Game” was a term coined by a British Intelligence Officer, Lt. Arthur Connoly of the 6th Bengal Light Cavalry in 1834, to describe the rivalry between the British Empire and Russia in Central Asia. Dannatt envisions a state of permanent war. He asks, “how do we prepare ourselves for potentially a generation of conflict?”
Dannatt’s speech is here: CGS speaks on “Tomorrow’s Army, Today’s Challenges”
Mentioned in The Guardian: Miliband leaves way open for Iraq troops reduction
Dannatt has attracted considerable controversy regarding public comments which have been seen as suggesting that Britain should withdraw from Iraq: General seeks UK Iraq withdrawal
So Dannatt’s comments about Afghanistan are perhaps more a warning than an endorsement of Her Majesty’s Government’s position.
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy