• Another Blow to Hearts and Minds: Taliban uber alles

    April 25, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Democracy, Iraq

    playboy Sila SahinSomehow this is part of something: ‘I wanted to be free’: Muslim model upsets family by posing nude for Playboy cover. (Link NSFW unless you work in a cool place.)

    It gets odder when “anti-Muslim sites” then celebrate things like a Playboy cover as a victory. Read the cheering here (Again, NSFW), witty remarks like “After I’m done staring at her, I would like to see her buried up to her neck and stoned to death by an angry mob. Best of both worlds!”

    OK, this is junior high school stuff, I get it. But we faced such silliness daily in Iraq. One of our goals, the Embassy reminded us regularly, was to turn Iraq’s Islamically oppressed women into entrepreneurs, and have them throw off their hijabs for miniskirts, liberated and free. Most Iraqi women, however, seemed less interested in owning businesses than they were in somehow finding water, medicine and education for their non-miniskirted children. No matter, like with pretty much everything we did, our vision was not to be disturbed by anything as silly as reality.

    I saw the same thing happen in Iraq vis-vis the availability of alcohol. Every time an election popped up, journalists would scurry about recording whether some militia demanded the closure of booze stores, or whether some newbie writer stumbled onto a nightclub in Baghdad with whiskey and dancing offered. These are not meters of progress, friends. Note to newbie journalists: any taxi driver can take you to such a club for an instant byline.

    The point is simple: for us to equate progress with how many naked Muslim chicks are in Playboy is as dumb as equating progress with how many Iraqi women bought into our cheesy 1970’s view of empowerment. It is wrong to be crowing democracy when one vision (nude shots) trumps another (veils), or crowing Taliban uber alles when one vision (veils) trumps another (nude shots).

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