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Anti-Education Attack Poisons 150 Afghan Schoolgirls 707

An anonymous reader writes "The water at a high school in Afghanistan was contaminated today, poisoning roughly 150 girls in attendance. Afghan officials say this was a deliberate attack: 'We are 100 percent sure that the water they drunk inside their classes was poisoned. This is either the work of those who are against girls' education or irresponsible armed individuals.' From the article: 'Some of the 150 girls, who suffered from headaches and vomiting, were in critical condition, while others were able to go home after treatment in hospital, the officials said. They said they knew the water had been poisoned because a larger tank used to fill the affected water jugs was not contaminated. ... None of the officials blamed any particular group for the attack, fearing retribution from anyone named.'"
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Anti-Education Attack Poisons 150 Afghan Schoolgirls

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  • is what happens when you coddle and religious groups extreme behavior and the myth that they have a right to tell governments what to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, at least in the U.S. the attack on education by conservatives is nonviolent. Thank goodness for small favors, I guess.

      • by Nemesisghost ( 1720424 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:51PM (#39712967)
        Just so you know, not all of us conservatives are anti-education. I find the fact that people are rewritting history and forcing religious view points on people just as abhorrent as the most ardent atheist. Oh, and did I mention I'm Mormon & even served a mission? Or how about the fact that I'm not the only one? How's this food for thought: There are plenty in the scientific community that not only believe in God, but also think this kind of crap is the stupidest thing they've ever heard?
        Next time instead of attacking what you don't agree with, try to understand it. Otherwise, all you are doing is giving these idiots reasons to further their agenda.
        • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:52PM (#39713995)

          How's this food for thought: There are plenty in the scientific community that not only believe in God, but also think this kind of crap is the stupidest thing they've ever heard?

          Just out of curiosity, why aren't those people making their voices heard?

        • by BakaHoushi ( 786009 ) <Goss,Sean&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:57PM (#39714049) Homepage

          The problem is that this kind of dialogue is common not just here on the Internet but EVERYWHERE.

          I have an uncle and every god damn problem in this country is the fault of those evil, liberal teachers brain washing our kids. All liberals want to make everyone step in line to their creed, you know. Because there was once this story about a really stupid liberal guy who said something like that.

          Similarly I've met people who know that Conservatives want to elect Jesus as president, know that He supports their right to carry an M-60 in their local supermarket and shoot anyone who's skin looks Islamic. They know this because of that story from last year where that crazy guy did that thing.

          We need to stop this.
          There are stupid, opinionated liberals. There are also well-informed, open-minded liberals.
          There are stupid, opinionated conservatives. There are also well-informed, open-minded conservatives.
          Beginning a statement by saying ALL members of group X are such and such isn't just wrong, it hurts actual discussion. No, that story in the paper about that one liberal/conservative group/politician/whatever being an idiot or an asshole does not, in fact, discredit everyone on that side of the political spectrum. People on the opposite side of the aisle are never going to listen a word you say if the first words out of your mouth are insulting to their entire group.

          Problems can't get fixed until we actually discuss what needs to be fixed and how, and we can't have a decent discussion until we learn to stop insulting everyone.

    • Ultimately, it's not about religious extremists telling the government what to do, it's about their telling actual individual people what to do. If ever there were a time for methodological individualism [], this is it.

    • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:21PM (#39712423) Journal

      that they have a right to tell governments what to do.

      I'm sure you didn't mean it to sound this way, but in case you did, who do you think DOES have the right to tell governments what to do if not the people they govern?

      • Religion != people religion has no right to dictate directly to governments, people do. In a lot of ways I would love to see the separation of church and state run both ways, the state does not mess with churches and churches stay out of politics. The state should never implement church doctrine as law, rather implement the minimal set of laws that are required for civil society. That would let the church go back to working on morals and the state out of enforcing them.

    • Maybe you can explain who was coddled by whom?
      This may follow from their religion, but for the life of me I can't figure out what 'coddling' has occured to encourge this.

    • Aren't you for 'democracy', which means rule of the majority or basically mobocracy? If the majority consists of religious fanatics, wouldn't it just mean democracy can be used to give power to Taliban just as well?

      As say: democracy does not ensure freedom, it is actually a gateway towards tyranny.

      HOWEVER, where does it say even in TFA that it's Taliban that is responsible? Here is what TFA says:

      The Afghan government said last year that the Taliban, which has been trying to adopt a more moderate face to advance exploratory peace talks, had dropped its opposition to female education.

      AFAIC it could be anybody poisoning those girls, from Taliban, to USA military contractors, who stand to lose a s

  • If the message is that women shouldn't go to school, then maybe they learned something at school. But wait... someone just taught those girls something! Kill the offenders!!!!!

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:16PM (#39712351)

    None of the officials blamed any particular group for the attack, fearing retribution from anyone named.'"

    Bad guys do bad things and people are afraid to even name them for doing the said bad things... I think the bad guys might be winning.

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      Bad guys do bad things and people are afraid to even name them for doing the said bad things... I think the bad guys might be winning.

      This. You beat me to it, but, just wow. Fear of fucking retribution for outing the sort of scum who would poison schoolgirls?

      GROW A PAIR, "OFFICIALS" - Or get the hell out of the way for someone who will do their job.
      • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

        They're afraid of inciting more violence against the school and its students. It's easy to say "do your job" from way over here - not so easy when you may be directly further endangering hundreds of innocent students.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:20PM (#39712409)
    There were many, many opportunities during the 20th Century to deliver sorely needed aid to Afghanistan, and put some money into helping the country modernize and industrialize. Under Western Cold War Political Doctrine, however, that simply wasn't seen as being "necessary" or a "priority". So after the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan by the Western-armed Afghan Mujahedeen, Afghanistan was left to its own devices (= the country was left to rot in abject poverty). With the bone-crunching poverty, and political-abandonment by the Developed World came support for the Taliban. With the Taliban came a particularly hateful, denigrating view of women (women should cover at all times, girls should not go to school, girls should be married to older men by arranged-marriage). ----- Here we are many decades later, wondering why Afghanistan is an underdeveloped s__thole of place, where someone can so pissed at girls being educated, that he poisons their drinking water. Afghanistan should have been helped decades ago. The West, at the time, was too cheap to commit money to such a project. And now we have a genuinely "failed state" to deal with. "You reap what you sow", as they say.
    • The problem lies in the assumption that those with the capability to make the world a better place genuinely have interest in doing so.
    • by slew ( 2918 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:02PM (#39713113)

      I think you simplify this too much. It wasn't the "west's" opportunity after the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan. Iran, Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan were the major players in Afghanistan in the post Peshawar Accords. If the British (or the US) would have just gone in there (even to "help"), how do you think things would have gone differently? Would the Afghanis have just completely forgotten the first 3 anglo-afgan wars? Not so sure that was the best course of action.

      Perhaps, we should have perhaps been rooting for Ahmad Shah Massoud and the United Islamic Front. They weren't saints, but were still anti-Taliban. Instead, the west was lobbying for them to surrendar to the Taliban to stabilize the region as the west was more aligned with Pakistan at the time (and Pakistan was one of the big supporter of the Taliban).

      How did history unfold? Well, Mr Massoud was eventually assasinated and then Sept 11th occured. I don't think it was about the west being too cheap, it was more about picking the wrong side.

    • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:03PM (#39713125)

      Help doesn't always help.

      If we tried to help, who is to say it would have turned out better or turned out like many African and Latin American countries that did receive help. Symptoms may get treated, but that can make the issues worse.

      America is evil for trying to impose it's will on other countries.

      America is evil for not trying to impose it's will on other countries.

      In a no-win situation doing nothing is often the best course of action.

  • This is not Islam (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:26PM (#39712489)

    Remember that crap like this is carried out by a fundamentalist extremists. Don't start a witch-hunt on religion just because the wack-jobs killing people claim to be religious.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by robot_love ( 1089921 )

      And yet it is religion which justifies these actions. Please consider reading Sam Harris' "The End of Faith", which outlines in detail why the continued survival of our species can no longer tolerate attitudes such as your own.

      • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @08:21PM (#39718045)
        Atrocities are just as easily committed in the name of atheist socialism. The "survival of our species" has always depended on violent power structures. Theocracy is almost cute in comparison to the potential horrors of mechanistic collectivism.
  • Well, we should all fear retribution from a group that poisons schoolgirls. They must be a terrifying bunch!
    • Are there no cell phones there? Can't someone start an anonymous tip line? If this happened in the US we'd have detectives so far up everybody's ass that the ACLU would be foaming at the mouth.

  • Does anyone know why they're doing this? Do they think these schools are teaching girls to reject Islam and embrace Satan, or something? Citations?
  • by DaneM ( 810927 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:41PM (#39712765)

    ...they're afraid to accuse people whom they think poisoned over a hundred schoolgirls, for fear that they'll tick the criminals off (and have trouble as a result). Sure, angering terrorists (or whatever they're calling these scoundrels--if anything) is likely to provoke them to try other acts of terrorism. What are you going to do, though, let them get away with it? I can't see how that won't encourage further acts of terror just as thoroughly (if not necessarily as quickly).

    Side note: yes, Afghanistan is strongly Muslim, and yes there are some extremists who utterly pervert and abuse that faith; but unless there's some mention in TFA about religious motivations, let's please not jump to inflammatory conclusions about this being faith-motivated. In point of fact, this sort of thing has happened here in the USA, as recently as in the 20th century, so let's not throw stones based on our dominant religions (including atheism and agnosticism--which are, of course beliefs about God, if only by denial and uncertainty) being somehow superior to theirs. Horrible people exist in all countries, and infest all religions, as you should all well know.

  • If Pakistan and Afghanistan want their Islamic paradise, let them have it.

  • by ewieling ( 90662 ) <user.devnull@net> on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:13PM (#39713299)
    Let these girls and their families (and other females who are attacked for wanting an education) have asylum in the USA or other country where girls don't get killed for wanting an education.
  • by Marrow ( 195242 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:05PM (#39714161)

    Maybe they should have thought of that before targeting women with poison.

  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @03:27PM (#39714533)
    So because the water in the tank wasn't contaminated, they know it was poison?

    Afghanistan isn't especially well known for it's hygiene standards. The symptoms of headaches, Nausea and vomiting match up pretty well with salmonella or e-coli poisoning. It's obviously in a public official best interests to blame evil terrorists rather than lax health standards. Put your water jugs in a messy kitchen where meat it prepared, it could easily be contaminated.

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