An unprecedented protest is unfolding in the Balochistan city of Quetta in Pakistan. Thousands of people have staged a sit-in, and are using 93 coffins to block a road to protest the slaughter of Shia Muslims by Sunni Muslim terrorists allied with the Taliban. In their demise is a warning to the rest of us. A nuclear power is about to collapse.
We did it! After tens of thousands of Canadians and even more people from around the world signed my petition on Change.org, we got every single party leader to get behind the campaign to unanimously nominate Malala Yousufzai for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. I had never imagined that not one, but all of our federal parties and leaders would end up supporting the campaign to support a girl halfway around the world.
There are times in human history when a single person becomes a metaphor for philosophy, morality, humanity, poetry, literature, and human stature, all rolled into one. Such persons lead by example, at times sacrificing their own lives for their convictions. We live in the times of Malala Yousafzai.
An 11-year-old Pakistani girl with Downs Syndrome might be put to death for blasphemy. Killing people for expressing negative and/or dissenting views on religion, for burning Qurans, for writing letters -- is this Islam? No. In Islam, a law that penalizes a person for challenging or disparaging the religion -- is blasphemy itself.
In Afghanistan, Obama is all but conceding defeat. We saw it in Vietnam when then-President Richard Nixon assured that the withdrawal of American troops meant "peace with honour." But it's still a country where, if the Taliban have power, Sharia law will flourish, women will continue to be persecuted, niceties like amputations, stoning, honour killings and such will blossom.
Some Afghan translators were killed by IEDs, but it's safe to assume that every single Afghan translator or interpreter is on a list somewhere, marked for reprisal. They know this, and knew it when they volunteered. We, as a country, owe these young people, just as we owe our soldiers who served in our name in Afghanistan.
What happens now that a weary world is pulling up its military stakes in Afghanistan? Some worry that the gains women have made will be traded for a so-called peace with the fundamentalists. Don't believe it -- the women are poised to yank this primitive place into the 21st century. They are the reformers and they won't go home again.