Juan Cole on Afghan Riots

Juan Cole on the Afghanistan protests: context and detail that you won't get most other places, including NPR, and Cole's just gathering information from farther flung sources. Example: the protesters seemed to've singled out Pakistani institutions for arson while burning effigies of Bush and the US flag. Sound familiar? Cole speculates that the Afghan protesters think of Pakistan as an American proxy. Highlight:
Muslims are not to touch a copy of the Koran when they have not performed their purifying ritual ablutions (washing in a special way with water), called wudu'.

In secular American society, I suppose the shock value here could only be hinted at if we imagined someone flushing a small American flag down the toilet. But probably we can't imagine it at all.

The technique of humiliating Muslims as a way of "breaking" them for interrogation has often veered toward torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and it wasn't effective as a technique. The Israeli flag was also used at one point, apparently. The US military has a tradition of such humiliations, going back to treatment of the Filipino Muslim rebels in the early 20th century. But there is a difference between humiliating Muslim prisoners and humiliating Islam.

Whatever goddam military genius came up with the bright idea of flushing the Koran down the toilet at Guantanamo should be court-martialed, and Bush had better get out there apologizing before this thing spirals further out of control.

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