2011 February 15 Tuesday
Human Rights Groups Shift Focus Toward Taliban

Christopher Hitchens, still alive and thinking in spite of cancer, points to a New York Times article about how Western human rights groups in Afghanistan only now have shifted the focus of their attention away from NATO troops and toward the Taliban as human rights violators. Do human rights groups attract a disproportionate number of fools? Or are they really at war with their own civilization with the rest of the world serving as useful props?

Even in a week that concentrated all eyes on the magnificent courage and maturity of the people of Cairo, a report from Kabul began with what must surely be the most jaw-dropping opening paragraph of the year. Under the byline of the excellent Rod Nordland, the New York Times reported:

International and local human rights groups working in Afghanistan have shifted their focus toward condemning abuses committed by the Taliban insurgents, rather than those attributed to the American military and its allies.

The story went on to point out that the Taliban was culpable for "more than three-fourths of all civilian casualties" and informed us that some human-rights groups are now so concerned that they are thinking of indicting the Taliban for war crimes. "The activists' concern," Nordland went on, "would have been unheard-of a year ago," when all the outcry was directed at casualties inflicted by NATO contingents.

What took the turn of heart? A big attack in an upscale supermarket in Afghanistan. So, like, if the Taliban would start attacking Trader Joes stores would that turn all of the American Left against them? I mean, I like Trader Joes. I would prefer the Taliban find some other way to turn the American Left against them. But would attacks on TJ's do it?

The turning point, in the mind of the human rights "activists," appears to have occurred in late January, when a Taliban suicide-murderer killed at least 14 civilians in the Finest Supermarket in Kabul. Among the slain was a well-known local campaigner named Hamida Barmaki, whose husband and four small children were also killed. One wonders in what sense this was the Taliban going too farówomen are killed and mutilated by them every single day in Afghanistan. Yet let the terror reach one of the upscale markets or hotels that cater to the NGO constituency in Kabul, and suddenly there is an abrupt change from moral neutrality.

Where the Left is concerned could the Taliban get away with attacking chain bookstores as long as they did not attack local independent bookstores? How would the Left come down on attacks on Starbucks? Would they get upset at attacks on Nordstroms? How about Volvo dealers? Worse to attack than BMW dealers? I'm guessing attacks on local arts and crafts shows would really make the Taliban enemies of human rights groups.

So I appeal to you readers: What could the Taliban attack that would most upset human rights groups? Use your imagination. I think these people could be manipulated by building whatever kind of store they most like right in downtown Kabul or Kandahar (to better help human rights group workers living in these towns). Then when the Taliban blow it up or shoot it up the human rights groups will turn against Muslim theocrat thugs. Sound like fun?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 February 15 06:08 PM  MidEast Afghanistan

Matt said at February 16, 2011 3:40 AM:

Holocaust museum.

MWethman said at February 16, 2011 4:10 AM:

Good one, Matt!

I was going to say "sushi bars."

mrm27 said at February 16, 2011 6:18 AM:

An organic farmer's market for localterians.

Black Death said at February 16, 2011 7:10 AM:

"Do human rights groups attract a disproportionate number of fools? Or are they really at war with their own civilization with the rest of the world serving as useful props?"


Deckin said at February 16, 2011 10:39 AM:

A Berkeley City Council meeting--especially one where the Peace and Justice committee is in attendance.

Sycamore said at February 16, 2011 12:56 PM:

This is hilarious. The imagination of these SWPLs just doesn't run very far. It can't seem to get them a mile down the road; it tops out at 50m. Had the Taliban not come to them, never the twain would have met.

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