Monday, September 29, 2008

Meanwhile, Back At The War(s)

Sad news from both fronts. From Afghanistan:
Afghan woman police director gunned down

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a high-ranking woman police official in Afghanistan's largest southern city Sunday, while a suicide bomber killed three police and three civilians in the same region.

Malalai Kakar was traveling from her home in Kandahar city to the office Sunday when she was shot, said Zalmai Ayubi, spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor. Her son, 18, was wounded in the attack, he said.

Kakar, 41, was the head of the department of crimes against women in Kandahar city, Ayubi said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility.

I know things are better in Afghanistan than they were back in 2001, but the ground that’s been gained is quickly slipping away. It’s shameful that almost seven years after the war started, the Taliban can still assassinate a top women’s advocate. This column offers a thorough assessment at how miserably we’ve failed in Afghanistan.

Over in Iraq, human rights took a blow, as well:

This morning, I received news from Iraq that the coordinator of Iraqi LGBT in Baghdad, Bashar, aged 27, a university student, has been assassinated in a barber shop.

Militias burst in and sprayed his body with bullets at point blank range.

He was the organiser of the safe houses for gays and lesbians in Baghdad. His efforts saved the lives of dozens of people.

“Homosexuality was generally tolerated under Saddam,” Hali, founder of Iraqi LGBT, said in 2007. “There certainly was no danger of gay people being assassinated in the street by police. … Life in Iraq now is hell for all LGBT people; no one can be openly gay and alive.”

And here I thought we went into Iraq five years ago to spread democracy.

Of course GLBT folks are vulnerable to persecution here, too.

Maybe before we try to export democracy, we ought to think about perfecting it at home, first.