Monday, July 30, 2007

And what's missing from THIS picture?

Sometimes, it's what you don't read that changes the complexion of the story:

Taliban leaders OK hostage deadline

KABUL - Taliban leaders said yesterday their fighters would kill 22 remaining South Korean hostages if the Afghan government did not release rebel prisoners by a new deadline of 3:30 a.m. EST this morning, a spokesman said ... the Korean group ... the remaining hostages ... the hostages ... the Koreans ... foreign guests ... the remaining hostages ... the hostages ... the hostages ... etc, etc, etc.

And what salient detail is noticeably missing from that news coverage? Ah, yes:

Taliban threatens to kill South Korean missionaries
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent
Published: 23 July 2007

Afghan negotiators were last night locked in talks with the Taliban to release 23 South Korean Christian missionaries that the fighters have taken hostage and threatened to kill unless a deal is reached today.

Yeah, that's sort of a big part of the picture -- the fact that those folks were there for no other reason than to spread the Good Word. In a war zone. To unfriendly Muslims. Whoops, there goes my sympathy and, apparently, all of this is causing some serious reconsideration of just how freakin' stupid you can be and still deserve to live:

Korean Missionaries 'Rethinking Ambitions' - Time Magazine

Time magazine reported in its online edition Friday that the abduction of 23 Koreans in Afghanistan has "forced Korean Christians to rethink their evangelical ambitions."

No. Fucking. Shit. And if you keep reading, it turns out that even those Bible-whomping nutjobs' own countrymen are wondering what in hell possessed them to do something that asinine:

Under the title "Korean Missionaries Under Fire," the magazine said, "The execution earlier this week of one hostage, pastor Bae Hyung Kyu, 42, brought the expected outpouring of grief and condolences. But non-evangelical Koreans are still scratching their heads over why the Saemmul church group trotted off to such a volatile region, thumbing its nose at government warnings not to enter Afghanistan."

Oh ho ... so they were explicitly warned against doing something that moronic. But it just gets better and better:

It went on to say, "An unfortunate side to the evangelical movement in Korea is increased competition. Churches number in the tens of thousands here, and are competing so intensely for members that pastors feel pressured to engage in a kind of one-upmanship: sending congregants on as many overseas missions as possible. New markets and riskier missions tend to garner more publicity, which until now has translated into more kudos and ultimately more money for the pastor and the church."

There's a phrase that the wingnut-o-sphere likes to keep parroting ... what was it again ... oh, right: "personal responsibility." As in -- if you do something incredibly fucking dumb, you might die because of it. And that's nobody's fault but yours, isn't that how we're always lectured?

I'm sure the word "accountability" shows up there once in a while, too.

P.S. Oh, and "actions have consequences." How could I have missed that one?


Unknown said...

Don't worry CC natural selection weeds people like this out.

CC said...

Why, Wayne ... for a Blogging Tory, that's surprisingly uncompassionate. One wonders if you would have been that unsympathetic if those folks had been, well, white.

E in MD said...

I have as much sympathy for these guys as I had for my best friend who had sex with this psycho chick I dated ( twice, yeah I had to learn too ) and got his heart broken.

And like I said to him back when I found out ( after I smacked up upside the head ) "If you poke at a cobra and the cobra bites your dumb ass, you don't go getting mad at the cobra. You get mad at yourself for being a dumbass."

Unknown said...

Despite your assertion to the contrary, the "complexion" of the story is changed not a whit by the choice of moniker one chooses for the Koreans. They are being held hostage for the explicit purpose of exerting pressure upon South Korea to change its political mind. The fact that they happen to be missionaries is of no importance to their plight: the effect would be the same if they were aid workers or newspaper reporters. Their nationality is the salient adjective to describe them, for it is their nationality which made them a target for abduction.

As for being warned not to go to Afghanistan, that too is inconsequential to their plight: who isn't warned not to go there if one doesn't have to? It is a very dangerous place, as everyone knows.

As for fault, we all have free will and use it as we see fit. To kill a hostage is a choice.

Unless, of course, you wish to say that the Taliban are not human, and do not have free will.....I'm sure that is a road you will not travel down. Will you?

Perhaps another time, eh?

Unknown said...

Gee, in the time it took me to write my comment, somebody did go down that road....

So, e, are you saying the Taliban are cobras, not people? That they are not responsible for their actions? That they are incapable of free choices, are driven to do what they do?

Or are you one of those who blame the victim? You know, the kind of guy who says she had it coming for dressing that way and walking in that neighbourhood?

Unknown said...

CC, my very first thought upon hearing about the reason these hostages were in Afghanistan in the first place was exactly yours: Muslim fundamentalists are enraged at the thought that a Christian crusade is trying to wipe them out.

So what do the Christians do? They SEND MISSIONARIES, to confirm the Taliban's fears!

Yes yes, Hostage Taking Is Wrong.

But for goodness' sake, this is analogous to the stupidity of a rich person strutting with no weapons, and a whole lot of diamond jewellery, through an extremely poor neighbourhood and yelling at the top of their lungs, "I've got a ton of money and you don't!" Yes indeedy, robbing this moron is still wrong. But surely the moron SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, and bears at least a modicum of the blame.

And hey. These are Christians. With that direct connection to God, and all. Following his calling, strutting into the lion's den. And they're NOT READY TO BE MARTYRS? They never considered in advance that that's what he was calling them to?? Or maybe NOT calling them to??

I want to see them get out alive, and then be bashed over the head for a while for absolute, utter stupdity. Not to mention arrogance -- waltzing into that hostile, hostile situation, simply assuming that since they're Christians they couldn't POSSIBLY be touched.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid people.

Dean P said...

Surely they can't complain: Either god wants them there and will save them, or they'll become martyrs, which, I'm given to understand, is a good thing (we erect shrines to martyrs).

Or else, of course, it will show that god doesn't exist and we just put another tab of chlorine in the gene pool.

And Fergusrush, what are you talking about? Free will? Huh? The missionaries had free will too. Don't be surprise when someone uses their free will to your detriment.

Unknown said...

Deano, I am not surprised that someone may use their free will to my detriment, not at all. If you read my comment closely, you will note that I did say that we all have free will.

But you at least acknowledge that the killer of the missionary had free will and is therefore responsible for his actions. The death of the man he killed is his fault. No pullee the trigger, no killee the hostage. Savvy?

E in MD said...

Or are you one of those who blame the victim? You know, the kind of guy who says she had it coming for dressing that way and walking in that neighbourhood?

By fergusrush, at 3:39 PM
- - - - - -

I realize you right wing morons are incable of understanding any advanced language concepts such as analogies but come on now stop trying to put words in other people's mouthes.

Sure, the Taliban have a choice. Their choice is to defend what they believe is their way of life from Western invaders. I don't happen to agree with their tactics, nor do I agree with their support of terrorism back before President Numbnuts decided to invade. Unlike President Numbnuts, I at least can comprehend the mindset. Because if a bunch of assholes invaded my country I'd be off pulling a Red Dawn on them as well, though I wouldn't be taking civilians captive and executing them.

Just like the right wingers always think they're right even when they're contradicted by their own Bibles, these guys think they're right and that they're fighting for their continued existence and the continued existence of their religion.

But much like the Taliban people have a choice, so do missionaries heading into a war. They chose to enter a fucking warzone with a rampaging religious theme because they wanted to 'spread the word'.

In case you haven't noticed the Taliban aren't interested in 'the word'. Globally, a lot of people aren't, but that rarely stops missionary types. What the Taliban are interested in is killing people for their own political purposes. Missionaries... their own people...journalists... soldiers....I don't think it matters who really.

This is not, despite your assertion, the same as claiming someone deserved to be attacked for walking into a neighborhood wearing something in particular. As I previously stated, this is a Warzone. Not North Philly and anyone that had more than four brain cells would realize that if you decide to walk into a warzone you're taking the risk of death, dismemberment, torture and other particularly nasty reasons why it's not a good idea to wage war for the hell of it ( you know... like we did in Iraq ).

So to answer your question I'm the type of guy who says "Don't go walk into that hail of bullets" and then doesn't blame the bullets when the dumb ass gets killed. Whether or not the missionaries 'deserved it' has absolutely nothing to do with what I posted nor did I ever say that. That was something your own fevered brain invented to make you feel better. I happen to believe that even one viable human life thrown away is too much, which is why civilians going into the warzone in the first place was a really bad idea. It's doubly bad now that they're being used as a political football by the enemy because of their choice.

That all being said, you can ( and no doubt will)spin that however you want because I don't particularly give a rats ass about your opinion.

Unknown said...

It's true -- nobody "deserves" to be killed because they're crushingly stupid, and went into the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong attitude.

They ARE culpable, however, for knowing how dangerous was the situation they were going into, and that it would be stupid to go there, and GOING ANYWAY.

I don't agree with the Taliban's tactics. If the soldiers (soldiers! NOT missionaries!) could wipe that brood of misogynistic oppressive religio-totalitarian bastards off the face of the planet, let alone Afghanistan, I'd be cheering my head off.

But I dislike the arrogant Christian Taliban as much as I dislike the Muslim Taliban.

Unknown said...

"If you poke at a cobra and the cobra bites your dumb ass, you don't go getting mad at the cobra. You get mad at yourself for being a dumbass."....e in md

Gee, e, that analogy you used there seems pretty straightforward to me. I've been away for a few days and you are still the only "progressive" to defend it. Hell, the proprietor of this place won't even take issue with anything I've said here.
As for your prediction that I would "spin" your explanation, there is no need: your desperate verbal dancing did it for me.

Unknown said...

And phyl, to be clear, I am not disagreeing with your comment that the missionaries are culpable for their decision to go to Afghanistan: they are. When I speak to "fault" in this episode, I am concerned with CC's quote "And that's nobody's fault but yours, isn't that how we're always lectured?"; his implication being that the "right" will back away from "personal responsibility",as they preach it, in this case, because it will not suit their needs. I am pointing out that personal responsibility also applies to the Taliban, as well as the Koreans. And when it comes to the kidnapping and murder, the fault lies solely with the Taliban, for they are the agency that actually committed those crimes.