Dr. Matteo Gemolo, a doctor in philosophy at Cardiff University and an independent political commentator. He writes about politics, human rights, freedom of speech, and secularism. He is project leader for policy papers on human rights and religions, and collaborates with LGBTI Liberals for Europe, Certi Diritti, and European Liberal Forum.
Day after day, regular as clockwork, from the occupation of Kabul onwards, a succession of surreal interviews is inflicted upon us by various TV stations, in which Taliban 2.0 with a neat beard and good, if not excellent, English, reassure the old continent and Americans that the watchword of the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be: “inclusiveness”. Just like watching the umpteenth dystopian episode of South Park, Abdul Qahar Balkhi explains to Al-Jazeera how the government that is forming in Kabul aims to be “inclusive” and how the hysteria that has taken hold amongst Afghans on the run from what has been presented as the best of possible theocracies is completely unfounded. Meanwhile, on the liberal BBC, other talibs reassure the free world that they are “investigating” the massacre of nine Hazara men in the province of Ghazni; following the complaint launched by Amnesty International, we can all very well depict a bunch of Bedouins sitting on a carpet in the shade of a blossoming almond tree carefully consulting the flight of pelicans in the sky to eventually confirm their suspicious: the Taliban are to be unconditionally acquitted.
Human trafficking, oppression of women and LGBT people, torture and violence against civilians, restrictions on modern education, bans on entertainment and recreational activities, kidnapping of political opponents, cultural genocide—no, again, when the BBC has a chance to interview a talib what comes into mind to them is nothing of the above, but is all about “inclusiveness”. On the 1st of September, another BBC journalist tackled Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy head of the Taliban political office in Qatar, with an even more urgent question on gender quotas: will there be women in the Taliban’s new government?
This is all fine, but what if instead of worrying about loony woke issues we start from the basics? Such as asking what happened to comedian Khasha Zwan, who had been slapped and harassed at gun point by a group of armed men just ahead of his killing for making jokes about Islam, on their want to-be-inclusive Taliban watch? Or if we want to stay on women’s issues, what about investigating whether women will still get an education and their basic human rights guaranteed under a Taliban government, before asking about their representation in politics?
Now, between here and thousands of girls finally relieved of the burden of studying maths and science, and adult women freed in inclusive pitch-coloured burqas, let’s get ready in the West to memorize the exotic names of a new class of Taliban spokespersons. Beware: they are all male, cisgender, and straight, but, in this case, it is going to be alright—as long as they do not show any signs of whiteness to snowflakes millennials.
Soon live on TV from the studios of The Daily Show, with a Starbucks cup in hand, the Taliban will explain to us that the news about the cutthroat opium growers from the Margow desert we were used to receiving over the last twenty years was all “fake news”. In fact, why shall they continue to sell opium when lithium will save the world from global warming, becoming one of the most crucial halal crusades that all worthy vegan Taliban will fight for in the years to come? And why persist in using machetes nowadays and run the risk of looking like barbarian lunatics, when American Democrats on the run generously loaned US$83 billion in armaments to the oppressed Taliban minority, including fifty planes, a hundred-thousand tanks, trucks, and other vehicles, about sixty helicopters, more than 300,000 assault rifles, and hundreds of thousands more of carbines, pistols, and other armaments, with which the Taliban can finally shoot the Afghan crowd in a much more inclusive way?
On the one hand, we can be sure that in the West we will continue like nothing has happened to proudly show off to the rest of the world how progressive and inclusive we are, by cleaning up our various Facebook, Twitter, self-proclaimed liberal media outlets and newspapers of all those forbidden words, images, and opinions from blasphemous politicians, writers, journalists, artists and cartoonists, who insist on the crime of vilifying the religion of identity politics, multiculturalism, inclusive language, and political correctness. On the other hand, on the other side of the planet, in the East, China, Russia, Iran, Qatar, and Turkey will keep feeding less and less starving ex-Bedouins of the desert and buying all the lithium they can from them to make sure that if you don’t learn Chinese in the next ten years, you will count for nothing.
What about the Afghans in all of this? The poor people have begun to flee. Or at least they are trying to escape a country which has been shamelessly betrayed and abandoned by their Western allies. And to those few who will manage to cross the borders of what is still dubbed the free world, I would like to kindly ask a favour: once you are here, could you be so kind to enlighten the woke brigade on how to re-set their priorities straight? Perhaps you could start by asking simple questions such as: how can you applaud tech gurus from the Silicon Valley for banning ad vitam aut culpam a former president of one of your free countries and, at the same time, still allowing one of the most conservative and violent Islamist groups on the planet to have their spokesmen freely chirping “their truth”, as Saint Oprah would preach, on Twitter? Maybe they will listen to you. Or probably they won’t. But we can be sure they will invent a new derogatory epithet to discredit and label you as unconsciously subservient of the evil capitalist West, such as “Uncle Mohammed” or “Brother Tom”.
European Eye on Radicalization aims to publish a diversity of perspectives and as such does not endorse the opinions expressed by contributors. The views expressed in this article represent the author alone.