Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who is to blame for the dead in Mazar-e-Sharif?

A few days ago, in the northern Afganistan town of Mazar-i-Sharifan angry mob attacked a UN compound killing at least 9 people, some reports say as many as 12. This was a response to Pastor Terry Jones burning a Qur'an (Islam's holy book/bible) in Gainsville Florida on March 20th.

Jones had threatened to burn a Qur'an for some time, but delayed after an appeal by General David Patraeus, leader for the US forces in Afghanistan.

Who is to blame for this horrible action? I say the responsibility for these crimes rests solely on those who committed them.

Does Jones shoulder any of the blame? While I agree that Jones is a nut-case, with more than a few delusions, I say that he does NOT. I agree with Sam Harris in this blog post, that anyone suggesting that Jones be punished is off the rails. Does a free country remove freedoms from its people in response to the irrational and illegal and threatening actions from some loonies in another country?

Would we have punished Harriet Beecher Stowe for writing "Uncle Tom's Cabin" because it may have led to the American Civil War and the over 600,000 dead? The freedoms we enjoy today were earned through the deaths of many who fought for them. Should the deaths of more people remove those freedoms? That is an insult to the people who died.