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We're no Taliban state

  • The toxic Talibanistic thinking has since spread to many other parts of our world.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

The Johor Sultan has put it forthright: We're no Taliban state!

And this is not just about a self-service launderette in Muar but the deep concerns of many Malaysians.

The Taliban used to reign over Afghanistan with the most fundamentalist religious teachings by way of brainwashing and inflicting the harshest means on its people to bring them into total submission.

Taliban only took a couple of years to take the country several centuries or even millennia back in time!

American university professor Dr Bill Podlich, who taught at the university in Kabul in 1967 before the arrival of the Taliban, captured the images of the capital city with his camera, images that now reawaken faint memories of this country during its better years.

In one of the pictures, boys and girls were seen attending the class together, learning secular knowledge largely identical to what was taught in the West. The boys wore shirts and pants and the girls wore skirts and sported Audrey Hepburn hairstyle.

In the park, people were strolling leisurely and picnicking. They sat on canvass cloth laid on the lawn to enjoy the sun, as a girl danced to the tune of the music in the open plaza of the park.

On the riverfront, American sedans whizzed along the broad thoroughfare as bare-top young lads swam merrily in the river.

Kabul back then was a modern society whose citizens enjoyed a great deal of freedom, equality and peace. It indeed looked more progressive and comfortable than KL in the 60s.

We have to credit King Mohammed Zahir Shah for the prosperity. Receiving Western education since young, the king graduated from a French university, and had devoted himself to reshaping a backward tribal community into a modern state after ascending to the throne.

He drew up the country's constitution to safeguard the fundamental rights of his subjects. He introduced the electoral system in establishing a real democracy. He built modern schools and the country's first university. He allowed women to attend schools and hired foreign experts to help develop the country's infrastructure and industries.

Afghanistan was a model for much of Central Asia by late 1960s.

Unfortunately, while the king was overseas in 1973, his rivals took the opportunity to stage a coup and sent him into exile.

That marked the beginning of endless political struggles in Afghanistan, followed by Soviet occupation. After the fall of Moscow-installed puppet regime, Taliban, a fundamentalist religious group, sprang to power.

By coalescing the fundamentalist Islamic teachings with Pashtun tribal laws, the Taliban longed to build a "sanctified" nation untainted by the slightest impurities.

They abolished the modern education system, and barred women from going to school or working. All forms of entertainment were outlawed. They controlled everything from people's attire to thinking, and installed a notorious religious police squad to monitor the daily activities of people. Those defying the laws were beheaded or stoned to death.

Within a short span of several years, all the developments the king had made in decades were nullified. Afghanistan's thousand-year civilization was crushed, including the Unesco-listed Bamiyan Buddhas.

Even though the country was liberated by the US army in 2001 and a new government was formed, residual forces of Taliban were still ravaging in remote parts of Afghanistan, continuing to poison the minds of the people.

To make it worse, the toxic Talibanistic thinking has since spread to many other parts of our world.

There are apparent signs of Talibanization in the Malaysian society that need no further elaboration. Look at the changes taking place in our society in recent years, from fashion to TV programs to political talks to Islamized policies... we've seen no let-up in its scourge.

In some states, men and women are segregated by force, entertainment and civilian activities banned, especially in Kelantan.

No shorts for men in public is only a minor attempt, and the big move is to get RUU355 amendment bill passed and hudud enforced.

Sadly not many see the aggravating trend of Talibanization while some are ardent to embrace or even energize it.

Till when will we pick up a lesson from Afghanistan?

 

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