A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
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21-08-2012, 04:40 PM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Killing the mentally retarded is a long standing religious tradition, along with the physically deformed, non-believers, and political enemies.

Why stop just because modern science has shown that the mentally ill are not possesed by demons?

Jesus would have used pigs to house those demons. He was humane.
I'm thinking pork for dinner tonight. Need to unload some demons in the morning.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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21-08-2012, 05:24 PM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Hey, Impulse.

It's not at all invalid. It's a question of whether or not the state has the right to take the lives of its citizenry. That is a separate issue from what is considered a crime.

For example, if, upon conviction, this girl was facing life in prison, or 40 lashes, or banishment, the question of "should blasphemy be a crime" remains.

It's heinous that blasphemy is a crime. It was also heinous that being a communist in the US was a crime. All kinds of fucked up things wind up as crimes. Sodomy is still illegal in many US states. There are states where beating your wife is still legal and others that have only criminalised it in the last 20 years.

As for the rightness or wrongness of capital punishment, it's at the heart of the sensationalism of this story. It's getting caught up in sensationalism that needs to be avoided.

Quote:When has capital punishment legally been used in the US for non-heinous crimes?

Well, there's all of the innocent people who were wrongly convicted and then executed.
There are the executions of the mentally retarded in Texas.
There's all of the black men that were executed because of a racially biased judicial system.
In 1612, acts like stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians were capital crimes.
There were all of the slaves that were executed ostensibly for being disobedient.
There were the soldiers executed for cowardice or desertion.
Treason.
Drug trafficking.
Espionage.
Piracy.
Cattle rustling.

The US has a LONG history of using capital crime for some pretty fucked up shit. And that doesn't make it OK in Pakistan. It means people need to get off their high horse and stop sensationalising things. We need to approach these things with level heads, willing to engage with the complexity of the issue.

There's also the question of mobs. The US has a rather lengthy history of mobs grabbing people they don't like and stringing them up.





And persecution? Just ask the Japanese in the 40s, the communists in the 50s, the blacks in the 60s, women in the 70s, the Mexicans and Arabs today...

And people being killed or imprisoned for their beliefs? MLK, Malcom X, the Kennedy brothers, Leonard Peletieer, Mumia Abu Jamal...

Again, none of this makes what is happening in Pakistan OK. It means don't just point at the worst of a country and suggest it's the sole quality of a country, especially when the same shit is going on at home. It also means that geopolitical situations are complex both to deconstruct and to fix.

It makes me angry that this girl is being subjected to this. It makes me angry that fundamentalism has gripped Pakistan. It also makes me angry that the US is bombing the fuck out of them. It makes me angry that the US backed Pervez Musharaff's military dictatorship because they needed Pakistani airspace to bomb the fuck out of Afghanis that never did a fucking thing to them. But as angry as I am, I know that ranting and raving isn't going to solve anything. Blaming simplistic nonsense for complex problems isn't going to solve anything. If anything, it'll just make it worse.

And Canada is not exempt from any of this either. The Hudsons Bay company gave natives blankets infested with smallpox, blankets you can still buy in their store to this day. The residential schools system. Talisman oil displacing and killing thousands of people in the Sudan. Our hands are dirty as fuck.

Quote:...if we judge each other by the worst of the other's behavior and by the best of our own, where are we going?
-Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

What's happening in Pakistan to this girl, with support of the criminalisation of blasphemy, with mobs going after people to the point where police need to arrest them, not because of guilt, but to save their lives, is horrendous. But it's complicated and it doesn't get solved by pointing fingers and barking reductionist, inflammatory talking points.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-08-2012, 08:45 PM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Hey, Matt (Mohammad?).

Once again defending Bat-Shit Cracy Islam by trying to make equivalence to other cultures. Not even close.

It has been noticed that you only go foaming (at the fingers) when Islam is criticized. Consistently...

When christians execute the mentally retarded for disgracing a bible, then you have a comparison, but not now. No comparison.

Some US states have anti-sodomy laws, but not inforced. In Islamic countries they are, by the death penalty. No comparison.

Do you count the number of states in the US that allow gay marriage? How many Islamic countries allow gay marriage? No comparison.

There you go Mo...

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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21-08-2012, 09:15 PM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Near pretty much already said what I had been thinking. This seems too convenient. It seems to me that someone simply accused her because she's a Christian and not a Muslim, so they wanted an excuse to kill her and her family. Basically, a modern day witch hunt...
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22-08-2012, 06:17 AM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Thomas (Pig Vomit?).

I only wish you had written that on paper so I could wipe my ass with it.
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22-08-2012, 11:16 AM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2012 11:21 AM by Impulse.)
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
(21-08-2012 05:24 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Impulse.

It's not at all invalid. It's a question of whether or not the state has the right to take the lives of its citizenry. That is a separate issue from what is considered a crime.
Agreed about the question, but I still find the comparison invalid. If you arrive at the conclusion that it's okay in at least some circumstances then the reason for taking the life becomes what makes all the difference. That would be public speech against religion vs. heinous crimes in what we're talking about here. That said, I realize you personally haven't reached the conclusion that capital punishment is ever okay. I also don't agree.

Regarding the examples of capital punishment in the US for non-heinous crimes that you provided, those aren't at all current. Yes, some of those are in US history (and I do question some of them), but those don't happen anymore. A death sentence isn't imposed easily at all anymore here in the US.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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22-08-2012, 07:55 PM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Hey, Impulse.

Factually incorrect. Many of those are current.

All I'm saying is that there is a demagoguic argument at work that plays to the emotional outrage of an innocent retarded girl being executed, which happens in the States. What that argument leads to is bullshit finger wagging and cat calls of condemnation which amount to the pot calling the kettle black. Not to mention that the geopolitical situtation in Pakistan is complex and in large part, kept destabalised by the US. Furthermore when people point at Islam and blame it, they're missing all of the real reasons that fundamentalism has gripped Pakistan. If this was merely the result of some inherent function of Islam then this wouldn't be out of the ordinary, it would be an every day occurence, everywhere there is Islam, which it is not. Lastly, an entire country cannot be held accountable for the actions of an angry mob. The US is the world heavyweight champeen of angry mobs and can ill afford to call that kettle black. It's emotionally satisfying to dismiss them as savages, but that's the point of demagoguery, to manipulate people on the basis of emotional arguments. As free thinkers, we need to be on guard against that sort of argument, not act as soldiers for it.

Some of the more dimly lit among us assume that speaking out against knee jerk reactions is somehow standing in support of what's going on, but again, that's infantile "you're either with us or your with the terrorists" non-thinking. What's going on there is terrible. Of course it is. But terrible things happen all over the world and absolutely none of it is solved by knee jerk finger pointing and saber rattling. It's solved by thoughtfully examining the situation in its proper context and its full complexity. If we can't hold outselves to that standard then there's no point to anything.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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23-08-2012, 10:14 AM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Came across this on Yahoo. I don't expect much from the religion of peace but really?

http://news.yahoo.com/pakistani-girl-acc...54340.html

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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23-08-2012, 11:12 AM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Ghost,

I concede the point about current infractions in the US. What I claimed earlier is true for most states. However, I just did some research and found that you are correct about a handful of states. So I learned something new today.

Anyway, that doesn't really change the main point for me. If an individual in the US wags the finger at Pakistan, it is not the pot calling the kettle black if that person also disagrees with what goes on in the US. You said:

(22-08-2012 07:55 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Lastly, an entire country cannot be held accountable for the actions of an angry mob.

I agree with you, but find it interesting that you then contradicted that assertion in your own statements. You spoke of the entire US with respect to anyone in it wagging their finger at Pakistan. It is far from everyone in the US who favors capital punishment (there are about 40% who don't) so aren't you just holding the entire US accountable for the actions of only some?

Also, in Pakistan, it is it's leaders that hold this policy of capital punishment for blasphemy. While you cannot blame all the people in the country for the decision of it's leaders, you can certainly blame the leaders. It seems to me that this is what the outcry was about. It's about both the policy of the entire country that allows this and the leaders who instituted and maintain the policy. I don't think anyone is blaming all the people in it. I also realize that this incident is itself only one small detail in a much larger issue. But so what? Sometimes larger issues need to be taken on one smaller part at a time or even on multiple fronts.

Finally, I disagree that there is a so-called knee-jerk reaction. Why can't people react to a detail, but still understand the larger picture? You are correct that finger pointing doesn't solve anything, but I doubt anyone is trying to solve anything with their finger pointing. It's equally important just to speak out about atrocities as it is to take action to end them. Speaking out increases awareness which in turn can recruit more people to the cause. It also communicates to the perpetrators that their atrocities aren't going unnoticed.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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23-08-2012, 08:53 PM
RE: A Christian girl with Down syndrome may face death in Pakistan.
Hey, Impulse.

If the person disagrees with what's going on in the US then they're not wagging their finger AT Pakistan, they're wagging it at the issue and all of the countries that are a part of it. Which is fine. My issue is with people who act like their shit don't stink.

All you're really arguing for is that the US is less awful. What is that actually worth?

Quote:I agree with you, but find it interesting that you then contradicted that assertion in your own statements. You spoke of the entire US with respect to anyone in it wagging their finger at Pakistan. It is far from everyone in the US who favors capital punishment (there are about 40% who don't) so aren't you just holding the entire US accountable for the actions of only some?

No. This is one hell of a stretch.

Quote:Also, in Pakistan, it is it's leaders that hold this policy of capital punishment for blasphemy. While you cannot blame all the people in the country for the decision of it's leaders, you can certainly blame the leaders. It seems to me that this is what the outcry was about. It's about both the policy of the entire country that allows this and the leaders who instituted and maintain the policy. I don't think anyone is blaming all the people in it. I also realize that this incident is itself only one small detail in a much larger issue. But so what? Sometimes larger issues need to be taken on one smaller part at a time or even on multiple fronts.

This is an example of attributing things to single determinants. Nothing is caused by one thing. When it comes to this sort of thing, there are always multiple determinants at work. The single determinant argument is the greatest weapon of the extremist and the demagogue. It is to be resisted with great vigour.

Pakistan is a democracy; not a dictatorship. The members of parliament represent a constituency. A constituency that much to everyone's chagrin is radicalised. There are members of parliament (as mentioned in the original article) that are against the legislation, but they face two important obstacles; public opinion and getting shot. Pakistan has a long history of public officials getting assassinated. That's a pretty dangerous environment to be brave in. It doesn't mean they shouldn't be or that they can't be, but it does offer more pieces to the puzzle.

As for blaming the leaders, the leaders of Pakistan are the ones trying to review this particular case. The police had no interest in arresting her but felt they had to for her own safety.

In terms of international pressure, it of course is aimed at the leadership. And in a perfect world, of course, everyone is right to condemn the law and demand it be repealed. But this isn't a perfect world and things rarely happen because they should. A great many things need to be addressed before the Pakistani leadership can even contemplate trying to repeal that law and to think otherwise is just naïve.

The problem with turning our eyes to Pakistan and screaming "it's the fault of religion/stupidity/angry mobs/the leadership/etc..." is that we're not actually identifying the root causes in their complexity, we're just flapping our gums in a nonconstructive way. If we really want to get rid of a problem we sit down, we talk, we look at the issue, and come up with positive measures to effect concrete change. We don't just say, "You're a bunch of stupid poopie faced dumb heads." It's entirely possible to be reviled by the situation and not go off half-cocked. I am reviled by the situation. But I'd much rather see an international movement designed to help Pakistan address the cornucopia of problems that buttress this issue than watch a gang of yokels spew uneducated vomit everywhere.

There's a great line in the Princess Bride. "Life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something." Similarly, life is complex. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

Quote:You are correct that finger pointing doesn't solve anything, but I doubt anyone is trying to solve anything with their finger pointing.

I can pretty much guarantee that they aren't trying to solve anything Cool

Quote:It's equally important just to speak out about atrocities as it is to take action to end them.

Speaking out against atrocities and offering Kellog's Pop Tart simplistic reasons for why the atrocity is occurring are two completely different things.

I think it's horrible that Pakistan has what amounts to a thought crime, that they have the death penalty, that they have mobs that lash out against people like this one did and that a retarded girl is being treated this way. I find the whole shooting match repulsive. What I won't do is point at them and say, "It's happening because of this one thing," because I know life is more complicated than that.

I'd rather have a conversation about Pakistan's history instead of pretending it began when that article was written, about their difficult geopolitical situation, about the root causes of the deprivations that have lead to a rise in fundamentalism, to discuss solutions to the whole thing.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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