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  Speaking of Children. Or Should that be, "Suffer the Children"
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   Author  Topic: Speaking of Children. Or Should that be, "Suffer the Children"  (Read 1159 times)
Hermit
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Speaking of Children. Or Should that be, "Suffer the Children"
« on: 2006-05-11 17:50:24 »
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Afghan peasants bear the brunt of curbs on opium

[Hermit: We seem to have ten billion dollars a month for war*, one billion of that spent in Afghanistan. We seem to be able to afford drug eradication programs which have the 'unfortunate' side effect of eliminating the cash crop which the hill tribes of Afghanistan need to survive - unless they turn to other "traditional" occupations - such as brigandry and kidnapping for ransom. Whereupon we will call those doing that - rather than quietly selling their children as sex toys "terrorists" and we kill them and we can.

Yet it seems that we cannot afford even the small amounts of aid that were once distributed via the Taliban, which meant that little girls did not have to pay for us getting our way. As a strategy to develop love for the West and America, never mind trying to prevent the return of the bogeymen Taliban to power I'd say that I have seen better.

There are still people in America and elsewhere who see the Middle East's hatred of the West as "inexplicable" or perhaps as a "religious" or "cultural" clash. Maybe these people have no children - or hate their own children enough to want to see children suffer. I suggest that we can simply look to where children have been and are suffering at our hands or at the hands of our brutal "friends" - and you will find people who hate us for it and who will readily harm themselves in order to harm us. These are not "terrorists". Nor are they "irrational". They are normal caring parents denied the ability to perform that role and so, taking up another. And of course, their children who have grown up in that environment are quite competent to determine that they would be better off if some number of their tribe sacrificed themselves in a possibly vain effort to eliminate what must seem to them to be our genocidal urges.

The West seems to be doing really well at manufacturing people like this - and getting better at it all the time. I wonder why, when even if we don't care about empathy, it would be so much cheaper to act as enablers, rather than as oppressors.

Hermit

*This is an illusion. As is well known to those who took my advice in December, where each $4,000 investment in Gold contracts made then is now worth in excess of $22,000 (a 5.5x gain in 4 months (and that was before Gold rose another $25/ounce today)), and where Copper has more than dopubled to over $4/pound, the dollar is a rapidly devaluing commodity. Or why Warren Buffet is now moving $40 billion into Japanese and European manufacturing concerns.]


Source: Pakistan Tribune
Authors: Not Credited
[b:Dated: [/b]2006-05-11

Kabul: He is a 70-year-old drug baron who will claim the girl in lieu of a $2,000 debt her family amassed when their opium harvest failed.

"We donít have any choice. If the money-lender wants our land, our daughters, we have to do whatever makes him happy," says 65-year-old Abdul Satar, tears welling up in his eyes.

Mr Satarís harvest was wiped out by a freak hailstorm rather than US-backed counter-narcotics forces, but his predicament highlights how impoverished farmers bear the brunt of the war on drugs.

In the village of Deh Magas, an hourís drive into the hills above Argu, the main drugs bazaar in north-eastern Afghanistanís Badakhshan province, the land is too poor to support crops other than opium, which needs very little water.

Afghanistan has seen a drop in the number of acres used to grow poppies - 256,880 last year, down from 323,500 acres in 2004, according to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime.

Although the countryís overall opium production - which accounts for 90 per cent of global output - remained steady, the drop in the number of poppy fields planted was hailed as a success in western efforts to curb its narcotics trade.

Some provinces saw sharper declines in poppy cultivation with a 53 per cent drop in Badakhshan and a 90 per cent drop in eastern Nangahar - the re-sult of tighter law enforcement, eradication and promises of aid.

The figures paint a bright picture but behind the numbers the debts of impoverished opium farmers have grown, tightening the stranglehold drug traders have on the local economy. In rural Afghanistan, opium is used as a form of credit. Drug smugglers advance farmers cash against the coming harvest and that is repaid back in opium.

If the harvest fails, or is eradicated by police, the debt multiplies, leaving farmers deeply in hock to traders and left with little option but to sell their land, livestock or, in the worst cases, their daughters.

Since last year there has been a surge in reports of child marriage to repay debts. "Ten years ago, before people started growing opium, you saw people selling their daughters, selling their children, and now itís happening again. People are desperate and are looking for husbands for girls as young as eight to make ends meet," says Fazel Rahman, a trader in the Argu drugs bazaar where opium and heroin are bought and sold. A recent report commissioned by the British government cites the common perception in rural Afghanistan that the war on drugs is penalising the poorest of the poor, while those with links to the authorities or the finances to bribe eradication teams escape unhurt. "This perception remains divisive and, if true, could serve to increase cultivation in subsequent years but drive up accumulated debt," says the reportís author David Mansfield.

In Badakhshan, dozens of farmers interviewed by the Financial Times in the districts of Argu and Baharak said that, after voluntarily planting other crops in 2005 in return for promises of aid, they were now being forced to plant poppies to settle their debts with local dealers.

"I used to own land but I had to sell it to pay off the money-lender. Now I just work in other peopleís opium fields. All those promises the government made were empty. There are no roadmakers, no NGOs, nobody with jobs," says Abdul Maroof, a 35-year-old opium farmer in Baharak district. USAID pledged $60m to alternative projects in Badakhshan in the five years from 2005, but only $4.2m hit the ground last year, leaving many farmers at the mercy of the dealers.

"There is no doubt that criminals have become stronger since last year and people have little confidence in the government. They think the war on drugs is a political game," says General Shah Jahan Noori, the provinceís police chief. Abdul Satar, too, will plant opium again.

But his harvest will be too late for Esther.

She will be married to the village drug baron Khan Mohammed, to pay for the flour, sugar and tea the family bought at his dry goods shop over the winter.


"My daughters are beautiful, but they are hungry," says Bibi Sahra, the girlís mother who has eight other children to feed.
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With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
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Re:Speaking of Children. Or Should that be, "Suffer the Children"
« Reply #1 on: 2006-05-11 19:04:25 »
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Quote from: Hermit on 2006-05-11 17:50:24   

*This is an illusion. As is well known to those who took my advice in December, where each $4,000 investment in Gold contracts made then is now worth in excess of $22,000 (a 5.5x gain in 4 months (and that was before Gold rose another $25/ounce today)), and where Copper has more than dopubled to over $4/pound, the dollar is a rapidly devaluing commodity. Or why Warren Buffet is now moving $40 billion into Japanese and European manufacturing concerns.][/i]

[Blunderov] Gold was at a 25 year high today.The analyst that I saw on TV said he thought their would be a small correction but the trend would continue strong and could reach $1000.00 per ounce by year end. The correction would be due to a lessening demand from India. Apparently Indian women may not own real estate so they accumulate their wealth in the form of gold. When it becomes too expensive  they diversify their holdings.

(In the last oil crisis in the 70's, IIRC, gold went ballistic.)

Wish that I had had some significant capital back then. Even now looks good to get on board. Renovations are a bitch.

Best Regards.
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