Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:39 PM
SpartanDem (4,533 posts)
The Taliban's New, More Terrifying Cousin
For the Hazaras, a group of Shia Muslims from Afghanistan with a large population in Pakistan, leaving the house has become a fraught enterprise. Schools have emptied, students stay home and parents try to explain to their children why people want them dead. They believe their government is at best uninterested in protecting them, and many are so traumatized they believe it's complicit. The Feb. 16 bombing killed 85 people, almost all of them Hazaras, and the number is still rising as people succumb to their wounds. About a month prior, another attack had killed 96 people who were also almost all Hazaras. The victims are not bystanders; they are a people who are being exterminated.
The group doing the killing is called Lashkar e Jhangvi, "The Army of Jhangvi" or LEJ. They are Sunnis whose agenda is not much more nuanced than killing Shias. Though South Asia is a region rife with internecine conflict, with factions who have fought each other for all of recent history over land and religion, these attacks are unique. Even in a region violence visits far too often, what's happening now is singular, and it's getting worse.
First it was snipers picking off civilians, then LEJ members began stopping busses, shooting Shia passengers and leaving their bodies on the roadsides. Now, LEJ is using massive bombs in places frequented by Shia civilians: social clubs, computer cafes, markets and schools. About 1,300 people have been killed in these attacks since 1999, according to a website dedicated to raising awareness about them. More than 200 have been killed so far this year.
Hazaras are one kind of Shia for which LEJ has a particular fascination. Quetta sits just below the border with Afghanistan, and it's the city where members of a Shia group from Afghanistan--the Hazaras--have sought refuge whenever they've felt their own country doesn't want them. They've been coming to Quetta for over a hundred years, but while they're coming in search of safety, they're now being met with slaughter.
Over Afghanistan's long and tumultuous history, just about every group has suffered, but the Hazaras have the unique misfortune of being both Shia when most of the country is Sunni, and of looking different from other Afghans. Hazaras are Asiatic, having descended from Buddhist pilgrims or from Genghis Khan (or both). So if one is hell-bent on destroying Shias, Hazaras make really good targets: They can't blend in. The LEJ can simply seek out Asian faces and kill them.
11 replies, 1799 views
The Taliban's New, More Terrifying Cousin (Original post)
|The Magistrate||Feb 2013||#3|
Response to DollarBillHines (Reply #1)
Wed Feb 27, 2013, 12:29 AM
Lithos (24,178 posts)
2. Not true..
The Hazara's have been persecuted since the 16th Century with many "pogroms" against them over the centuries precisely because they were Shia and Asian.
Also, the LEJ is a spin off of another group called the SSP which in turn was a reaction to the rise of Iran Shi'ites.
Response to Lithos (Reply #2)
Wed Feb 27, 2013, 02:00 AM
DollarBillHines (1,922 posts)
4. I understand the history
but we are living in the here and now.
And the 'here and now' is all that counts.
Fuck a lot of 16th century.
That was world's ago.
History ain't nothing, today is everything.
The US is the stick stirring the shit.
Response to DollarBillHines (Reply #4)
Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:10 AM
Igel (25,101 posts)
7. Obviously not recent history.
The Taliban made special sport of persecuting the Hazaras.
Remember Bamiyan? The Buddhist site?
Hazara territory. Just one of the little gifts provided by the Taliban in evincing their religion of universal peace and pacification.
And that's no 16th century. That's 21st.
Just like Quetta in 2013 isn't 16th century. Except possibly in the style of thinking of the more enlightened of the Taliban, but such progressive "16th century" thought will be rooted out as anti-Islamic. After all, that would be early Renaissance-style thinking. Far too progressive.
Response to bemildred (Reply #6)
Wed Feb 27, 2013, 09:58 PM
Lithos (24,178 posts)
The Baloch are Sunni. The massacre in Quetta happened in Baloch territory.
The Baloch resistance condemned the massacre and blamed the Pakistani government as encouraging this as a way for them to continue to oppress the Minorities inside of Pakistan. However, how much of that is lip service and how much is reality is unknown.
Response to Lithos (Reply #8)
Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:07 PM
bemildred (90,061 posts)
I know the Balochi are Sunni and have autonomy issues with both Iran and Pakistan; but it said the Hazara have been hiding out in Quetta, which suggests that there is safer than up North, so I thought I'd ask.