Monday, July 12, 2010

Afghan Schools

Khaled Hosseini writes that "If we accept the premise that education is the key to achieving positive, long lasting change in Afghanistan, then it is impossible to overstate how encouraging it is that this year[2009] nearly eight and a half million children will attend school in Afghanistan, with girls accounting for nearly 40% of enrollment."

"During the 1970s, the women of urban Afghanistan enjoyed a level of professional freedom and autonomy that was relatively liberal for a conservative Muslim society.  According to the US-Afghan Women's Council a significant percentage of the women in Kabul worked for a living-tens of thousands of them serving in medicine, law, journalism, engineering.

 .. in Kabul , unveiled females could be seen inside factories, and offices, t.v.  and walking the street wearing Eastern European style cloths.

The Taliban ended that.

..every woman was forbidden to go outside their homes, unless with a male relative, clad in a dark burka.  Any street or town with a female name was changed.

Women who were ill could only be treated by female doctors, but all women doctors were confined to their homes, and denied permission to go out.  severing half the pop access to health care.

The cities war widows, 50 thousand, had no way to earn a living, prostitution or begging and stealing, which if caught meant stoning or amputations

100,000 school girls were kicked out , and 8000 university students,  8000 teachers lost their jobs

Sunday, February 21, 2010

“Andersonville! Andersonville!”

Henry Wirz, a Swiss doctor from Louisiana, served as prison commandant during the last few months of the camp’s existence after its original commandant, Brigadier General John Winder, died in February 1865. For his efforts, such as they were, Wirtz was hanged in November 1865. His last fourteen minutes of life were spent at the end of a rope that was too short, listening to Union soldiers taunt him with cries of “Andersonville! Andersonville!” as he slowly choked to death. Remarkably, he was the only Confederate official to be executed for war crimes.

Edge of the West

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dr. Watson Fights the Taliban (Sherlock Holmes)

    In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the Army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as assistant surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy's country. I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.
    The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a packhorse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines.

Ghazis;   Muslims who fight non-Muslims.

"a Jezail bullet"

“The Jezailchis are so called from their jezails or long rifles. The Afghans are said to be among the best marksmen in the world. They are accustomed to arms from early boyhood, live in a chronic state of warfare with their neighbors, and are most skilful in taking advantage of cover. An Afghan will throw himself flat, behind a stone barely big enough to cover his head, and scoop a hollow in the ground with his left elbow as he loads. Men like these only require training to make first-rate irregular troops.” — General Colin Mackenzie 

The Battle of Maiwand was one of the principal battles of the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The battle ended in defeat for the British Army and victory for the Afghan followers of Ayub Khan. The Afghan victory at Maiwand was at a cost of anywhere between 2,050 to 2,750 Afghan warriors killed and probably about 1,500 wounded.[1] On the other side, about 969 British/Indian soldiers were killed and 177 more wounded. It is however one of the few instances in the 19th century of an Asian power defeating a Western one.  Wikipedia