Tuesday, February 21, 2012

AFGHAN WAR: 12 YEARS FOR WHAT

Today in Afghanistan, protesters are furious about the burning of copies of the Koran.

They are throwing gas bomb and have besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan after reports that Nato troops had set fire to copies of the Koran.

How the heck do you deal with fundamentalists who are appear to be looking for any injustice as a reason to fan the flames of hatred and intolerance? Perhaps, not giving them a reason to get riled up.

The war began on 8 October 2001. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have died, three million have become refugees. It has become a roll call of casualties, with announcements from time to time of land taken. The motives for the war have been blurred in ever-changing spin. Twelve years later, the war makes less sense today than ever. Sometimes, I wonder, what can we ever hope to achieve from the great sacrifices our soldiers and diplomats?

It’s no more than a roll call of casualties.

To me books are printed words, ink on pages. Reproductions of thought, prose, history and scripture. I hate the thought of any book being burned or thrown in the garbage. When I was in high school, I remember an incident when the school received a pile of replacement bibles. A lot of our bibles were tattered, torn and written-in. They were an educational and spiritual resource, that had served their purpose but needed to be replaced. When they were replaced the old bibles (just trade paper backs) were disposed of. No one thought this was an offense to god, or disrespectful of the church.

We all have a certain respect for our Holy Scriptures but the respect and love the Muslims hold for their Holy Script is greatly different. Every single word and verse within it is sanctified and cannot be touched without ritual cleanliness. No matter how old, tattered or difficult a Koran becomes, it should NOT be burnt in fire.

The proper way to dispose of it is to bury it after wrapping it into something pure and clean. If that can not be done, the ash is supposed to be buried or deposited in running water

These Korans were not burned out of malicious, hatred or misplaced protest. Personal items and books, including Korans, once used by detainees once incarcerated at the base, were burned as garbage. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, apologized and ordered an investigation into a report that troops "improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials which included Korans". 

This incident goes to show how little NATO respects or understands, the culture and the religion in the country it is supposed to be helping.

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