Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hey strangers

Okay, time for some catch-up.

First, relatively good news from Israel. I say relatively, because overall, the news is pretty awful. It looks like a centre-left coalition has been elected in Israel. Even better, Likud has been reduced to a rump. This is excellent news for the prospect of peace in the Middle East. Yes, the Palestinians elected Hamas. Yes, I wish they hadn't. However, the cycle of violence has to end somewhere, and the pursuit of peace has to begin somewhere. Anyway, Hamas was was elected on a platform of cleaning up Fatah corruption, not pursuit of terrorist objectives.

Second, I went to see former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Hans van Sponeck speak tonight. He talked passionately about the need for the United Nations, while maintaining that it needs to be reformed. He gave no specific proposals, but said that it is important to include civil society in the UN milieu. He also talked about the oil-for-food program of which he was a part, and the devestating effect of UN sanctions on Iraq.

An Afghan man who had from Islam to Christianity was let go by Afghan authorities because they declared he was not competent to stand trial. No doubt, this decision was influence by pressure from the West. Pressure, by the way, which I agree with in this case. He would have faced the death penalty. Apparently, some Muslim fundamentalists have protested saying that he should be put to death. Clerics have apparently called for his murder. As I understand it, this man is trying to leave Afghanistan. Good move. Good case for refugee status as well. Italy is considering giving him asylum.

Fuck them. Fuck all of them. I don't give a shit what Afghan law says about who should be put to death, just like I don't give a shit about what US law says about the same. Human rights are universal, and one of those rights is freedom of religion.