Foreign Policy Blogs

Two Shameful Acts

artacidap.jpgLast Wednesday, a couple perpetrators used water guns to shoot acid at a group of girls headed to school in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Details about this despicable act are still rather muddy, with the number of perpetrators and victims still unclear after reading several reports. The New York Times report has the number of victims reaching about half a dozen girls and a teacher at the school and quotes a provincial governor stating that arrests were made. In any case, at least two girls were severely burned and may be blinded.

“We were on the way to school when two men on motorbikes stopped next to us. One of them threw acid on my sister's face. I tried to help her, and then they threw acid on me, too,” Latefa, 16

“These cowardly acts reflect how dishonorable the insurgents truly are,” Gen. David McKiernan said. “No one can honestly say they are fighting for the people, then purposefully attack innocent women and children.”

The most tragic part of the story was the sight of the school the next day….it was empty. The perpetrators, allegedly members of the Taliban, but no group claimed responsibility, no doubt intended to intimidate the city's girls from going to school, and it appears to have worked, at least in the short-term. Instead of highlighting the disgusting actions of the despicable perpetrators of this act, I want to end by mentioning the courage of Afghanistan's teachers, school administrators, parents, and young female students who have to brave mortal danger in order to attend school each day. Their daily efforts are an inspiration.

Here is a CNN video featuring some of victims and a reaction by First Lady Laura Bush:

Embedded video from CNN Video

From Russia with Hate

Sadly, innocents were also violently attacked in Moscow in similarly brazen actions. During Russia's National Day of Honor parade in the country's capital in early November a large group of xenophobic thugs stabbed to death an Uzbek and Turkmen national and targeted the Turkmenistan embassy, injuring a staff member.

The government banned a planned rally on the same day by a neo-nazi, immigrant-hating group, but things still obviously got out of hand. Back in May I wrote about the growing violence toward immigrants from Central Asia by white Russians and the lack of protection being provided by the Russian government. Though at the time it seemed that the state was making moves against such unlawful, violent behavior, including higher rates of arrests, but it appears much more needs to be done.

(Photo Source: CNN)

 

Author

Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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