Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Imitiaz Ali, "Foreign policy challenges for the new president," YaleGlobal, October 31, 2008.

States that ignore the aspirations of their people and neglect festering pockets of poverty, paying little heed to the need for education, health, jobs or fair wages, years later may discover a changed country, with new motivations and goals. This YaleGlobal series explores how poverty and demography can undermine democratic governments and bring security challenges not only to the government in place but also the global community. In the first article of the two-part series, Pakistani journalist Imitiaz Ali points out how a lack of schools and jobs throughout the tribal region of Pakistan drives young males to madrassas and Taliban recruiters. In fighting its “war on terror,” the US directed billions of dollars in military and other aid to its ally that shares a rugged border with Afghanistan. Observing funds squandered on military projects, Pakistani tribesmen question the sincerity of US promises to improve the fate of Pakistani people, Ali reports. But they also recognize the dangers of ongoing exploitation by the Taliban. Ali urges the West to demand accountability for its aid money, to stem the spreading Talibanization, and target the hearts and minds of a liberal tribal people with education, trade opportunity and gainful employment. – YaleGlobal

NEW HAVEN: Gul Mohmmand Jan, a middle-aged man from the Bjure Agency in Pakistan’s tribal region, works odd jobs as a day laborer to support his six children. The tribal belt’s economy is based primarily on agriculture, but with effectively no private sector, work is scarce and compensation low. Jan sent two older sons to a local public school – a room in a mosque – but as Jan’s health failed, his sons were forced to leave school and work to cover the family’s cost of living.

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