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Posted in: Jihad & Terrorism

Published on Apr 14, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Children of the Taliban, Teenage Somali Pirates

Defeat Them Or Save Them All?


To me, it is clear as day.

Although they are pathetically young, the Muslim Somali pirates are outlaws, thugs, war lords in training; they are like al-Aqsa (the allegedly "moderate") Palestinian terrorists, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Egyptian Brotherhood, and the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban. They will never stop coming after us until we stop them cold; indeed, a second American vessel has just escaped a new Somali pirate attack.

Leftists view all these men as oppressed and impoverished, not by their own leaders, (which they are), but primarily by the imperial western powers. As such, they are indiscriminately and subconsciously viewed as 17th century African slaves under the lash, or 19th century native American Indians, being genocidally slaughtered and penned up in reservations.

When I look at Osama bin Laden or the Taliban, I do not see a trembling Jean Valjean, forced to steal his loaf of bread and flee unjust, superior military powers. To me, these men and their way of thinking are dangerous, and we must roundly defeat them and their ideas.

But, here are some troubling questions: Do we deal with Muslim terrorists, their child-martyr weapons, the civilians behind whom they hide, simply by defeating them all militarily–or are we also obliged to feed, house, and re-educate our sworn enemies—a reprise of the Marshall Plan but this time on every continent? Or, can we just defeat those who are threatening our way of life, (or holding an American ship captain hostage), and return home for another 100-500 years?

What if the pirate is a teenager? What if the suicide bomber is an Afghan or Pakistani male child between the ages of five and twelve? PBS just ran an excellent program about this by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Children of the Taliban. These child martyrs killed from twenty to twenty eight people apiece, themselves included, and wounded many more.

Are we our brothers keepers? What about our sisters—are we their keepers too? Unsurprisingly, as a female journalist, Pakistani-born Obaid-Chinoy was told that she'd be killed if she came herself to interview Taliban leaders in Pakistan and in the tribal territories. She was allowed to send a male cameraman. Obaid-Chinoy introduces us to a young male "handler," his eyes fetchinginly rimmed with kohl, who himself trains and dispatches boys as young as five. Rocking back and forth, madrassa-style, as if in a trance, he tells her that "God provides (the boys) that you need to sacrifice." He is proud of his religious work, not ashamed of forcing young children to kill themselves.

Ah yes, Obaid-Chinoy herself interviews the head of a Taliban madrassa (Muslim religious school) in Karachi, Pakistan. When the camera is close, he engages in taqquiya, telling her that at the madrassa, the students only learn about "peace, love, and harmony." He does so engagingly, soulfully. Then, when the interviewer has the camera retreat, he changes his story. Killing and dying for Allah "is in our blood. Muslims will never lack for sacrificial lambs." The switch from a lie to the truth is flawless, effortless.

Most important, we meet a 14 year-old in the film who, like all the other boys, only studies the Arabic language Qu'ran. He does not understand a word of it, it is the only book he is allowed to read, and he must memorize it. One feels sorry for him–that is, until he begins spouting the party line about women. Women are supposed to stay at home and attend to domestic matters, the problem in the world is that women and girls are "wandering around."

Obaid-Chinoy also interviews eight to twelve year-old boys who are from the same family or from the same village. Some want to join the Taliban, others want to join the Pakistani Army. She asks each one whether they would actually kill their friend/relative if they found themselves facing each other in battle. Heartbreakingly, without any hesitation, future Taliban, future Army men emphatically told her that they would have to do so.

What if the cost of re-educating every single brainwashed student in every madrassa in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the West Bank, etc.; every single impoverished Somali pirate and warlord; every single terrorist, world-wide, means that America will inevitably sink below the horizon into horrible poverty and become a failed state?

Because that is what may happen—and more. Are we, too, ready to commit national, cultural and civilizational suicide because our children and grandchildren have been taught to feel incredibly guilty about how unfair life is, and how privileged they are (or recently thought they were), as compared to the agony and screaming poverty elsewhere?

Are we so sure that every brainwashed martyr-in-training, every barbarian, can be turned around, redeemed?

This is not possible. I also think that western civilization has its' mind and heart set precisely upon this idealistic, compassionate mission.

Fellow-citizens: Quo Vadis, what road shall we take?


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