OK

The original song, California Girls by the Beach Boys talks of the lovely ladies and their tans and, of course, the beach. It doesn't mention whether or not these California girls are all simpletons, however. It doesn't ask whether sometimes their good looks made them pariahs among their peers - envied by girls, intimidating to boys - functioning to limit positive social interaction and in turn slow social development.

What the hell am I talking about? Pakistan. That's what I'm talking about.

The Pakistani Govt. just okayed a deal to impose Shariah law over large swathes of northwest Pakistan - the Swat Valley area.
From the AP via MSNBC:

Many extremists in northwest Pakistan apparently favor the exceptionally strict brand the Taliban imposed in Afghanistan before the U.S. invasion in 2001, where female education and music was banned. The Swat Taliban have declared a ban on girls' education.

This is terribly unfortunate. I don't want to criticize a faith (especially not an infamously touchy one) without knowing more about the reasoning behind refusing to educate women. Of course it's easy to just say the Taliban is evil. But this was not a military decision; it was political. The will of the people in the area seemed to move in the direction of Shariah law.
There's a great argument that it is in fact a military decision, as the whole point of the agreement is for the Taliban to lay down their arms. And it's quite possible the deal will fall apart:

Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said Sunday that the militants would lay down their arms if Islamic law is actually imposed. He also announced a 10-day cease-fire as a positive gesture.
But provincial law minister Arshad Abdullah said the deal would require the militants to first give up violence.
"They have to succumb to law," Abdullah said. "They have to put down their arms."

The old Middle-East Do-Si-Do - spin your partner round and round, fight over your country's ground. One side won't quit unless the other stops and vicey-versa. This always works so well for Israel.

Seriously though - girls. To deny women an education is horrific in this day and age. Of course there are many women in the area who I'm sure support Shariah law. How could they not? It's all they've known. And they aren't educated. It is easy to suggest they are somehow brainwashed or coerced, and that is likely the case sometimes. But to deprive women of an education is not only depriving them of all kinds of choices - it's depriving them of the ability to be aware those choices even exist.
I believe the American government should take a position, not against the institution of Shariah law, but in support of the imminent plight of Pakistani women. Anyone think that would be overstepping our bounds?

Originally posted to Rapscallionism and Scallywaggery on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 11:51 AM PST.

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