Afghanistan: death for downloading and discussing

Over at TechCrunch, Australian journalist Duncan Riley tells the story of a 23-year-old Afghani who’s been sentenced to death in a secret trial for discussing a document he found on the Internet.

Sayad Parwez Kambaksh’s crime was printing a document… that allegedly “violated the tenets of Islam.” Kambaksh then allegedly took the printout to Balkh University, where he discussed the contents with his teacher and classmates, resulting in a complaint to the US-backed Government.

Duncan asks:

What exactly are Americans and coalition forces (including British and Australian troops) fighting for in Afghanistan again? Feel free to remind me in the comments.

And the comments have gone beserk, even for TechCrunch. I’ll share some of it with you ‘cos someone who read my own comment emailed me privately to call me a genius and say that following the link to my website, i.e. here, was the best decision he ever made! Poor chap.

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Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals

Hindsight is wonderful. When we look back at, say, World War II, TV documentaries cover the rise of Hitler in a few minutes. It’s easy to forget that Hitler was head of the National Socialist Party from 1921, fully 12 years before he became Chancellor in 1933. And it was another 6 years before WWII officially kicked off with the invasion of Poland.

I’ve often wondered what that all looked like for people living it in real-time. And oddly enough, three articles in the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend got me thinking about how that relates to the big global issues today.

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