“We can’t tell them how to treat their women, okay?”

My friend the Canadian journalist Terry Glavin, recently returned to Victoria from a visit to Kandahar, writes of a cri de guerre by Afghan human rights activist Wazhma Frogh and Canada Afghanistan Solidarity Committee co-founder Lauryn Oates on the duty we owe our brothers and sisters in that war-torn country. I won’t quote from the article, but like Terry I recommend that you read it in full.

While exposing the vacuity of the women’s anti-war organisation Code Pink, or at least its position of ignorance prior to being confronted with the fears and hopes of real Afghan women, Frogh and Oates go on to portray the positive outcomes of women’s self-organisation in Afghanistan.

It’s powerful stuff, and should serve as a salutary reminder to the faint of heart why the international community must finish the job it started back in 2001 with the overthrow of those bastard enemies of humankind known as as the Taliban.

In another essay, Oates describes a public discussion of Canada’s continued role in Afghanistan. At one point in the procedings a “seemingly educated, mentally fit man” called for the inclusion of the Taliban in a future government of Afghanistan. In support of this particularly grotesque perversion of realpolitik, the man added:

“Look, we can’t tell them how to treat their women, okay?”

I rather think that we can tell the men of Afghanistan, or indeed any other land, how they may treat “their women”. And must, if we dare to call ourselves moral beings.

Now I’m all too aware that my opinion matters little in the grand scheme of things, so am pleased to see that the current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue feels the same way on this issue. As Barack Obama says, “evil does exist in the world”. A head of state he may be, and like the rest of us a flawed human being, but the US president doesn’t seem willing to compromise with evil.