Originally posted by BruinDan:
Or look at Iran, where public floggings and executions are handed down upon women who dare to go outdoors without completely covering themselves in clothing; and where laws exist that consider homicide justifiable for people who do not practice Islam. (remember Salman Rushdie?)
Let's not forget that the situation in Iran has changed immensely over the past years. Credit where some credit is due.
While they still don't have a decent, reliable legal system, ever since Khatami (who I think is an extremely intelligent man) was elected president (back in 1998, I think), Iranians have hope that things are getting better and that the religious leaders will - down the road- loose their power for good.
In contrast to what it's like in Irak, while the hejab (the islamic law that regulates that wowomen have to cover their hair and bodies) is still in place in Iran, women on the streets do NOT have to cover their faces (such as in Afghanistan and Irak); apparently in Teheran and other bigger cities, you can show some hair, make up and fancy clothing on the street. At home, girls and women wear modern western clothing.
My mom's best friend (they've been friends for the past 40 years) Turan is from a place called Isafhan, and we had a big discussion on the issue earlier this year. In her opinion, things have improved so much that she will go back to Iran (with her partner) in a few years time to be with her family (even though all of her siblings did they same as her and left the country in the early 60's.). She invited me to come over for a visit, too. If I find the time and money, it would sure be an interesting thing, simply because I think the only way to get to know a country like Iran is by having a local show you around.
Anyway. Things in Iran are still a lot different from what we are used to in Europe or North America, no doubt about that.
National Georgraphic had a fab article on Iran back in July of 1999, you can read it right here.
Just my 2 cents.
In general though, I think I am all for a complete split of church and state and I don't think "god's work" should have anything to do in politics.
I agree with Confused here, people in Europe will die laughing at those anti-choice people. We laugh about those already anyway . (excuse my cultural evilness)
And re: the Taliban and 43 million dollars
The package includes $28 million worth of wheat from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $5 million in food commodities and $10 million in "livelihood and food security" programs, both from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Powell said the U.S. aid is administered by the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, and bypasses the Taliban, "who have done little to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people, and indeed have done much to exacerbate it."
The sum brings U.S. assistance to $124.2 million for this year, making the United States the largest Afghan donor for the second year in a row.
Let's hope that those who need it will profit from this. I have this sneaky suspicion that the Taliban leaders could buy a decent amount of weapons from places like Irak with wheat worth 28 Million $.
"We must become the change we want to see."