But what about Sam?
Eric points to an excellent op-ed by Nicholas Kristof on the harassment of Mukhtaran Mai
Excuse me, but Ms. Mukhtaran, a symbol of courage and altruism, is the best hope for Pakistan’s image. The threat to Pakistan’s image comes from President Musharraf for all this thuggish behavior.
I’ve been sympathetic to Mr. Musharraf till now, despite his nuclear negligence, partly because he’s cooperated in the war on terrorism and partly because he has done a good job nurturing Pakistan’s economic growth, which in the long run is probably the best way to fight fundamentalism. So even when Mr. Musharraf denied me visas all this year, to block me from visiting Ms. Mukhtaran again and writing a follow-up column, I bit my tongue.
But now President Musharraf has gone nuts.
“This is all because they think they have the support of the U.S. and can get away with murder,” Ms. Jahangir said. Indeed, on Friday, just as all this was happening, President Bush received Pakistan’s foreign minister in the White House and praised President Musharraf’s “bold leadership.” [NYT]
Kristof gets it right. Thanks to the efforts of a group of Pakistani-Americans, the matter is receiving greater attention in the United States. But given the Bush administration’s investment in the Musharraf-good-boy story, it will be hard pressed to be anything beyond ‘dismayed‘. America’s total support for Gen Musharraf and his dispensation done nothing to change the fundamentally thuggish nature of his intelligence apparatus. Generous Americans may contribute to Mukhtaran Mai’s brave struggle, but it is within the power of their government to make a meaningful change. As they open their hearts and wallets, they must also press their leaders go beyond mere lip-service.