Monday, June 06, 2005

Chrenkoff reports: Good News from Afghanistan

The news from Afghanistan had all but dried up completely after the inauguration of their 1st democratically elected President. Of course, the second Newsweek's completely bogus article surfaced, triggering riots that ended in deaths, you heard quite a bit about the place. WIth the media spotlight swung back in their direction, terrorist elements have increased their efforts to make more news to keep building the fear that is their weapon. It appears to be Arthur Chrenkoff's lot in life to serve the blogosphere - and, by the way, the world - in the capacity of offering balance to the MSM's usually-negative reporting. Today, he offers up his 13th edition of Good News from Afghanistan:

::::::::Over the last few weeks, Afghanistan has been in the news again - unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. The media pack has made a brief re-appearance in Afghanistan to report on carefully staged "spontaneous" riots, which briefly erupted around the country, ostensibly in protest over a report in "Newsweek" (later retracted) about desecration of Koran by the American military personnel at Guantanamo Bay.

Sadly, in the rush of commentary about Afghanistan's slide into anarchy and America's deteriorating position in Kabul, most of the international media again missed or downplayed many other stories, some of them arguably far more consequential than an anti-government rampage whipped up by opponents of President Karzai. Take this story, for example:

"A crowd of 600 Afghan clerics gathered in front of an historic mosque yesterday to strip the fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar of his claim to religious authority, in a ceremony that provided a significant boost to the presidency of Hamid Karzai.

The declaration, signed by 1,000 clerics from across the country, is an endorsement of the US-backed programme of reconciliation with more moderate elements of the Taliban movement that Karzai has been pursuing ahead of the country's first parliamentary elections, due in September.

Symbolically, the ulema shura, or council of clerics, was held at the Blue Mosque in the southern city of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban movement.

At the same venue in 1996 the Taliban leader held up a cloak said to belong to the Prophet Mohammed, which is kept in a shrine in the mosque. He was proclaimed Amir ul-Mumineen or Leader of Muslims by the same clerical body, one of the few occasions the title has been granted anywhere in the Islamic world in the modern era."

This important gathering and its implications were reported by only a handful of news outlets around the world - in stark contrast to the news several days later about the assassination at the hands of the Taliban of the head of the council and the suicide bombing at the historic mosque during his funeral, which appeared through hundreds of media outlets around the world.

Faced with this sort of media coverage, President Karzai expressed his exasperation during his recent visit in the United States: "Sometimes - rather often - neither our press, nor your press, nor the press in the rest of the world will pick up the miseries of the Afghans three years ago and what has been achieved since then, until today."

Below, then, the last five weeks' worth of stories that were yet again completely overshadowed by terrorism and violence.

I'm not even done with it myself and it's well worth the read already. If you want to be fully informed about the situation over there, you owe it to yourself to read up.