Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who Punishing Whom?

"Anti-polio vaccination teams will not be allowed to administer polio drops among children in North Waziristan", Pakistani warlord Gul Bahadur.

The children living in the mountains of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan have a difficult enough life; deprived of life's comforts, unschooled.  Humanitarian groups attempting to vaccinate them against poliomyelitis may no longer do so, as a result of a ruling by local warlord, Gul Bahadur.  He takes exception to the fact that many humanitarian groups have connections to the United States.

And it is his allies, the Afghan Taliban that have been battling U.S.-led NATO and ISAF troops in Afghanistan.  He takes further exception to the American drones that are striking his tribal region in the high mountainous area of the Hindu Kush that is their home.  Those drone attacks have been highly successful in removing many of the the leaders of the Taliban.  They have also struck and killed civilians.

It's difficult to tell whether Gul Bahadur is more incensed that civilians are being maimed and killed than that members of the Taliban are.  Likely, it is the Taliban connection.  Only a logical conclusion since, if he were the least bit concerned over the safety and health of the local populace of civilians, he would obviously not be in the business of damaging future health prospects of children.

Yet it is the children who are being punished by this tribal leader.  A decision that makes no rational sense.  Rational decision-making is not of a high order to those who base their judgements on religious and tribal customs that date back in the mists of time, with little relation to the modern world.  Those living in those mountainous, government-independent regions are a law unto themselves.

So the humanitarian aid workers who constitute anti-polio vaccination teams may no longer seek to  accomplish their purpose.  If we recall, the Pakistani doctor who decided to work with the CIA to attempt to determine the accurate identification of a mysterious stranger living quietly behind the compound walls in Abbottabad close by a Pakistani military academy, attempted to retrieve DNA samples through the artifice of entry to the compound to offer vaccination to the children living there.

In northwest Pakistan a pickup truck bomb killed around 26 people, wounding 65 others.  They were targeting a tribal leader who has allied himself with the government against the Pakistani Taliban.  That bombing was one of the largest in weeks, and in such numbers of frequency of occurrence and people slaughtered through internecine, tribal warfare is the country mired in a maelstrom of violence.

In Iraq as well, there has been an uptick in violence with Sunni Iraqis - now in the descendancy with the Shi'ites in the ascendancy - targeting Shia pilgrims.  In Iraq this was the third day of bombings to strike at Shi'ite pilgrims in one week alone.  An earlier strike killed over 75 people, and the latest took the lives of 26, close to the Kadhimiya district in Baghdad.

The pilgrims were marking the anniversary of the historical death of Imam Moussa al-Khadim, a great-grandson of the Prophet Mohammad.  The Prophet is venerated by all Muslims, so they therefore have much in common, but those who claim his great-grandson as a saint, are considered by the Sunni sect to be heretics.

The barbarity that Muslims visit on one another is a relic of barbaric times that cling to the Middle East.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet