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The Pakistani hydra
by Thanos Kalamidas
2008-09-23 08:56:10
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The last elections in Pakistan had a lot of drama, occasionally even family drama, but they also had a visible/invisible element with the names al-Qaeda and Bin Laden. One way or another, the immediate future of this country is tighter with the future of the terrorist organization and the Taleban.

General Musharraf has finished, probably not the best way with him avoiding his responsibilities in front a court and his punishment, but a big part of his mistakes is there alive and very active. The survival of the Taleban has a lot to thank the mighty general; under his guard one of the worst regimes in the last thirty years responsible for crimes against humanity and against human history – we should never forget the destruction of cultural monuments in the name of Allah – found shelter in a Pakistan that was somehow ready to give.

Terrorism has long been the critical element in Pakistan and Pakistani leaders – not all the time proud for their democratic methods – used terrorists for their private agendas. The unbelievable hate between India and Pakistan has motivated those governments to host terrorists ignoring, or better pretending, to ignore the outcome in the long terms of those alliances. Taleban were for long the bogyman the Pakistani regimes used. Democracy our way or the Taleban and the example of what Taleban means were just next door. Women slaves and men enslaved to their religious leaders. A nation that could thrive with all the natural resources and all this manpower was doomed to choose between the bad and evil. And then the state thought that they could control the bogeyman and make a use of it.

When al-Qaeda hit the Twin Towers changing everything in the beginning of the twenty-first century the Pakistani regime found the line between dictatorship and terrorism getting even thinner and the bogyman they thought they could control and use getting totally away from their control lose and mad. Worst of all the bogeyman in the name of religion found allies inside the country and from having friends only between the security forces now they had access in the people exchanging even the hate of the people to a dictatorship as the only solution to a better future. However sad it may sound, the Pakistani dictators gave weapon to all those fanatics and terrorists organizations, the weapon they were lacking, they gave them access to people’s hearts and the right to deliver hope.

The gap between rich and poor and frustration in front of the total corruption and the feeling of dependency let the people of Pakistan in despair and dark and the only ones who could provide hope even after life were the fanatics and in extent terrorists. A state with dictatorial regimes succeeding one another with one worst than the other led the people of Pakistan in the arms of the Taleban and al-Qaeda and now it is clear the connection between them two.

The unbelievable amount of explosives that piled in front the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was just the top of the iceberg and the death of 53 just part of series of murders that have long started and they are not going to end now. The snake has become the mythical hydra with the many snake heads. You cut one and two appear in its place. Following the ancient myth, the Pakistanis only solution is to burn the place where the head was so no more heads can come out and continue cutting the rest.

The new president of Pakistan has stepped exactly on this constantly thinning line and his work is not only to lead the country in real democracy state but cut the umbilical cord that links the Pakistani state withal those terrorists. And that has to be done not as part of the Bush’s war against terrorism but for the good of the Pakistani people and for the real hope for a future.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-09-23 13:41:55
Indeed Thanos, evil does appear like a many tentacled hydra at times but we refuse to name it that it is. As we speak, another student massacre has happened in Finland. The question arises: Why are the young in some of the most affluent countries in the world so despondent about their future?

The end of the world as we know it? Perhaps that is the silver lining here: the end of the world as it is and the beginning of the world as it should be according to Man's nature? Was Katantzakis right in imagining Man as a creature looking beyond the earth and the material to the transcendent as his posture would indicate?

Sand2008-09-23 20:25:35
That someone should derive anything positive over these meaningless tragedies indicates a thoroughly twisted viewpoint.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-23 21:17:29
Indeed, when one postulates a meaningless universe there is no such thing as tragedy, never mind meaningful or not meaningful. There is only the farce of the Punch and Judy show and the twisted voices in one's head and the burning of books and the survival of the strongest and the bully.

Sand2008-09-23 21:32:53
That you should regard the frightful meaningless murder of innocents as some kind of Punch and Judy show is a very unfortunate demonstration of your character.

Alexandra P.2008-09-24 02:55:39
Don't take advantage of the situation to preach your teachings, Mr. P....

Sand: I have a discussion from the 5th of August 2008, here in Ovi, to remind you, very unfortunately.

AP2008-09-24 03:01:50
It was like this:
"AP 2008-08-05 17:30:06
You asked for more accuracy and detail... you got it. It's easier to joke about it now.
Sand 2008-08-05 17:52:08
As I said, I have live here for around 40 years. Apparently we have differences as to the definition of accuracy.
AP 2008-08-05 18:56:59
And truth. You apparently have a romanticized vision resulting from the fact that your family is Finnish maybe? Last time we had this discussion, a couple of days after there was that high-school shooting and Ovi was publishing a cover with the title: "Finland: the end of innocence" - remember? Then there was this finnish boy sending hatred comments against Americans (who else?) and how they "influence the world"... I wait for the next episode of violence, political corruption or a financial scandal. The true Finnish "reality show".
Sand 2008-08-05 19:18:43
And you are so eager to claim that a single psychotic incident portrays the nature of a nation. Have you the same standards for the USA (which you admire so much) where school shootings occur every other week? Can you somehow fit Timothy McVeigh into the picture, and the uni bomber and all those people rushing in to slaughter co-workers that occur with strange frequency. I have no idea but has this never happened in Portugal? Are you so naive as to assume a few nuts determine the nature of a nation?

AP2008-09-24 03:08:04
AP 2008-08-05 20:04:20
No, I'm not. Was that what I said, Sand? For God (or the Martians) sake. What I said was: you know how the myth of the untouchable usually ends? With self-destruction.

Why instead of burying the head in the sand, real prevention/educational measures for drugs and alcohol abuse aren't taken? (...) As a matter of fact it hasn't, not with such proportions. It happened someone killing one or two colleagues, but not a massive slaughter. No one blamed the Americans, the debate following the crime was around national gun control and education policies. But we are not free from such thing, and I'm sure everyone is QUITE aware of that - we might just be slighty more free than the country with more legal weapons per capita. Why is the suicide of teenagers with guns so high in Switzerland? Because of the Americans? Because they have a terrible life there? No, because they have very easy access to guns."

It was like this, I remember very well. Does not prove anything, of course, but I really hope that this time no one blames the Americans...

AP2008-09-24 03:16:21
More than that, I truly hope that Finnish citizens wake up and demand proper measures from their government, rather than merely changing the gun license age to 18... It is absolutely FUNDAMENTAL for gun access to become difficult. I wonder if this is the same logic that rules alcohol sale, and some minister is involved in a gun production business or so.

AP2008-09-24 03:32:11
Of course, independently of the individual madness, recurrent acts - it doesn't matter if they occur in the US, Switzerland, UK, Finland or any other western country, become a symptom, and one has to (re)think something about education together with a whole range of social variables. One begins to wonder what is so wrong with these kids and why. But that's a reflection for the entire western civilization, and even for some eastern/asian societies as well. So first of all, our direct responsibility: gun control laws.

AP2008-09-24 04:11:32
By the way: this reminds me that earlier this week in that article about Alzheimer Disease, I described the affection shown by the King of Spain and so on. Juan Carlos is not nuts: he's a very respected leader, wise, humane and generally compassionate. But there's a story about his life that not all of you might know: Juan Carlos killed his younger brother at age 18, in a gun accident. It happened in Portugal... and simply because while teenagers they were allowed to play with guns.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 05:58:08
Is that what the voices told you I wrote? Don't believe them, they are liars. Read what's there.

Sand2008-09-24 06:57:02
I never defended the general possession of guns, in Finland or anywhere else. It's true what the gun people say, that people, not guns are the problem but people are difficult or impossible to change so I agree. Eliminate the guns.


This day there seems
Small concept
Of the chemistry,
The way a meme
Can invade a dream,
Distort its centrality,
Dye, infect, englobe
Discrete components
To its design,
Forge from diversity
A dire unity.

The gun is,
In simplicity,
An engine of
Internal combustion
That dispatches
Its free piston
On death's mission.
But its meme
Is digital -
Death's finger
To annihilate
Its designate,
A pointer on the hand
To eliminate on demand.

This metal flesh
Once joined at arm=s length
Infects the mind
With an evil strength.

An object
Can contain an idea.
The Bible is an object.
The U.S. constitution
Is an object.
A gun
Is an object.

That boy
Who murdered, maimed
Other kids at school
Was not a boy

With a lethal toy
Was not a boy
With a gun.

That was a gun
With a boy.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 07:43:41

No need to recurr to unfair and biased personal insinuations and attempts to impose silence and censorship on "teachings" not to one's liking Ms. Pereira. That way lies no reasonable solution of the issue. Just take a look at the Time article above titled "Commentary: the Finns need to take a look at their children" and reflect on it for a few minutes before jumping on your activist horse sword in hand.

Sand2008-09-24 07:55:30
Not satisfied with the miseries and horrors of a multitude of other countries in the world, Mr.P. has evidently started a vendetta against Finland because I chose to live here. It seems the much more troubled and more gun crazy place where he lives satisfies him perfectly. This is perfectly in character with his past performances so it's no surprise.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 08:57:34
Is that what the paranoid misleading voices told you? Don't listen to them; they are liars. Read what's there which, by the way, is not even addressed directly to you; read the Time article too and reflect on it without any ideological knee-jerk reaction. Moreover, you are not that important despite the emperor's clothes you imagine you're wearing to elicit a connection between you and Finland, whatever the reasons might be for residing there.

Sand2008-09-24 09:06:46
Come on, Mr.P.! Your vicious and unwarranted attacks on Finland are all too transparent. And I really wish you would work up more novelty in your attempted insults on me. The old ones always were weak and unimaginative but now they have become totally worn out. An assumed scholar such as yourself should not spend his time whining about bullies when he has the full resources of a PhD education to range all time and space and literature for appropriate nastiness.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 09:21:30
You are doing quite well in nastiness and villany without a Ph.D. Indeed, as I have mentioned before, there are people that would have done much less damage had they never been sent to school.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 09:41:55
Here is the full article from Time magazine:

Commentary: it is time the Finns looked hard and close at their kids
Roger Boyes

The youth of Finland seems to be living on a short fuse. Only ten months after the Jokela school shooting — eight dead that time — there is again blood in the corridors and classrooms of a college in this apparently placid and consensus-loving country.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 09:43:26
(continued from above)
Early indications are that the latest assault was a bid for similar global notoriety. The Jokela slaughter last November stunned Finland and placed the killer, Pekka-Erik Auvinen, on the growing roster of desperate male teenagers ready to release their frustrations with a gun. Like Jokela, the latest shooter carefully planned the attack: from the timing, soon after the start of the academic year, to the YouTube manifesto, it was an act of theatre.
Auvinen’s YouTube message was a rambling Nietzschean tirade together with some clumsy attempts to demonstrate his shooting skills. No matter — before it was taken down it was viewed by thousands. Something similar happened in the case of the Kauhajoki killer. Sad to say, he had been motivated by no more than a desire for internet celebrity.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 09:46:26
(continued from above)
School massacres feed off each other, and plainly the youth who blasted his schoolmates learned from Auvinen; Auvinen in turn had been in touch with a would-be American shooter.
Yet at the risk of howls of displeasure from Finnish readers — who raged at my commentary on Jokela — it has to be said that there is something disturbing going on in their proud, self-regulating Nordic culture. After not one, but two massacres in a year, it is time that the Finns looked hard and close at their children.
After Jokela — an average school in Tuusala, an average dormitory suburb of the Finnish capital — my argument was that the Finns were letting down their young generation, allowing them to slip into a kind of psychological isolation. In small-town Finland — with nothing much to do except hang around in cliques forged in school, with the days shortening, with parents absent and the geographical distance between the homes of classmates unusually long — traditional friendship was slipping away and being replaced by social networking sites. Although all Finnish schools have psychiatrists, they are overworked. Teachers geared to ensuring exam results are failing to spot depression. And in a society with a hunting tradition, guns are readilly available.
Well, young Finnish readers deemed this to be a parade of stereotypes. There was, they said, nothing specifically Finnish about the Jokela tragedy. If anything it was an American import, or a disease easily spread by the internet and video-game makers.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 09:48:43
(continued from above)
In short, there was nothing much to be done — apart from mourn the pupils and teachers caught in the sights of a mentally deranged killer.
Now, it has happened again. Time, surely, for the Finns to ask themselves a few questions. Or would that be unpatriotic, un-Finnish, rocking the boat?
After Jokela, I was invited to a Finnish school to help to dispose of my prejudices. Situated on the outskirts of Helsinki, it was indeed an impressive place. Great effort was being invested in integrating immigrants, helping them to come up to scratch in Finnish. The reason why Finnish schools always do so well in international school league tables is that they try so hard to bring up class averages. Nobody is left behind. In one class a very bright Russian immigrant teased his native-born Finnish ice-hockey obsessed mate and declared: “Jokela couldn’t happen here — he would have talked over his problems with friends.”

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 09:49:28
But later I visited a special, almost quarantined, part of the school, a block that sought to bring drop-outs back into the system. It was well intentioned. The teenagers were given free breakfasts and fresh coffee to get them out of bed. They had classes when they wanted but mainly played cards and listened to music. They were plainly an embarrassment to many teachers, part of a government scheme that had been hatched before Jokela. The truth is that they were there to improve the statistics of the education system. The kids, nice but withdrawn, needed a different kind of help. Other children in school regarded them as freaks.
No, they betrayed no signs of latent violence: they were not reaching for their guns. But they had been set aside by a society still striving for a kind of perfection, a social democratic utopia. The Jokela killer was not spotted because, said his class teacher, he got good marks; interest in him stopped at that point. Perhaps the Kauhajoli killer was also being earmarked by the teachers in his catering college as a promising restaurant manager.

Sand2008-09-24 09:49:45
"there are people that would have done much less damage had they never been sent to school."

An interesting thought, Mr.P., but your genius at stupidity would no doubt overcome all obstacles whether you were educated or not. (Of course, merely possessing the supreme sheepskin marks you for amazing elusiveness for avoiding any real education). Your permanent perch on the shoulders of either Larry, Moe or Curly more or less guarantees you a place in the Guinness Book as the most inept PhD on record.

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 11:31:19
Is that what the voices in your head told you? Don't believe them; they are liars and slanderers and deceivers.

Sand2008-09-24 14:19:36
I got this straight from Larry, Moe and Curly

Emanuel Paparella2008-09-24 15:23:49
If you give me their address I'll call the ambulance.

Sand2008-09-25 06:46:06
You obviously have not the slightest comprehension of my references.

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