Monday, August 17, 2009


Chop off voters fingers if they vote?
That’s what the Vancouver Sun reported from the Daily Telegraph in article by Ben Farmer titled Afghanistan Votes (8/15/09). Evidentially the Taliban are threatening to chop off fingers of anybody who votes in this week’s presidential election in Afghanistan. I wonder why. Oh, I know the Taliban are a ferocious, bloody bunch, but they can’t be entirely stupid as they are succeeding in stymieing western powers, including Canada. However, there is this: the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has just signed into law edicts that are also dear to the heart of the Taliban. These edicts concern the behavior of women. Isn’t it remarkable how so very many of the laws stemming from Islam have to do with the behavior of women? An outsider might think that controlling women is the very basis of Islam, at least how it is practiced in Afghanistan.

For instance, in the same article in the Sun it is reported that President Karzai earlier had signed into law a ruling that was said to condone martial rape and decreed that a wife must satisfy her husband’s sexual desire at least every forth night. A somewhat amended version says that a husband can stop feeding his wife if she does not submit to him and in case the wife runs away she cannot take her children, as the custody of children is granted only to fathers and grandfathers. I don’t think there is such a great difference between President Karzai’s rulings and the Taliban rulings. So why the finger chopping threat? The big quarrel on the treatment of women between the Taliban and President Karzai must hinge on the difference between what can be done with women who disobey their husbands and fathers and even sons. Can you image that, dear sisters out there who can hardly wait for sons to leave the house, of having to ask your son if you can go out of the house yourself? Can you even imagine such a thing? It boggles the mind. But the Taliban say that a woman who disobeys her husband or father or son can be gang raped along with other punishments such as being killed. So why are Canadian soldiers giving up their lives to a foreign government that despise women only to a modicum degree less than the Taliban who are killing Canadian soldiers? And some of the police officers over there who have assisted? And all corrupted by the price of cocaine? More on the drug issue later.

Monday, August 03, 2009



Some say the world will end in fire:
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire…

In Robert Frost’s famous poem “Fire and Ice” the poet goes on to say that if the world had to perish twice he knew enough of hate to know that for destruction, ice was also great, and would suffice. While it’s hard to know exactly what was in any poet’s mind when they wrote a particular poem we can say (I think) it’s at least suggestive that Frost in this writing was thinking of ice as indifference, as neglect. This neglect is proving deadly in our collective indifference to our environment. However, like Frost, I hold with those who favor fire. And probably so would the majority of BC inhabitants’ at the moment as we survey our burning forests.

Anyone who sees the film “Home” will be impressed with the role trees have played not only in the evolution of soils, plants, animals, water, and oxygen, but also how we as humans have evolved with them. And in spite of the fact that trees have brought us life and health and happiness we have not loved them in return. Not so, you say? You have always loved trees, you say? Well, people try to protect what they love. When people love enough they will take risks to try to protect what they love, even if this involves financial or physical danger to them. Collectively, we have not done this. Collectively, we have passively watched our vast public forests fall to corrupt logging corporations and governments who have catered to them. As this combination of corporate greed, government duplicity and citizen passively has markedly contributed to global warming by resulting in a massive deforestation of the forests of our province. And this is a crime. It’s a crime against humanity and a crime against nature.
Is there nothing to be done except chant “Burn, baby, burn?” as massive areas of our forests burn to cinders? Yes, there is. When the fires die down we can love, really love, as individuals and citizens, what’s left of these trees, these forests. We can surround them with our love. We can protect them. Whatever this takes. Betty K