Well here is an odd article. Of course the Taliban aren’t interested in negotiations, for one thing if any Taliban leader pops his head above the parapet we hit them with a drone strike, for another, they know that as soon as western forces leave Afghanistan it will be a sitting duck.  The Afghan national army is infiltrated, poorly motivated and without body armour. How long are they going to last against a highly experienced fanatical and ruthless opponent like the Taliban??? not long is my bet. Of course the Taliban is biding its time. As one note to the British ambassador went, “you have all the watches, but we have all the time”.

We need to pray for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, that they have the strength and courage to stay free of the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. That is a prayer for peace I can get behind.  So often at mass there is this “prayer for peace in the world” and I can’t honestly get behind it, because there are times when peace is just another word for surrender and crushing tyranny. What if Britain had made peace with Germany after the invasion of Poland? The third reich would be with us to this day.

The world needs real peace built on real justice, real human rights; freedom of religion, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association, racial tolerance, women’s rights, fair trials and property rights. Sadly if you take a quick look around at the majority of the Islamic world these things still seem like a pipe dream. The Arab spring has pretty much died on its arse. Iran has more democracy than most countries in the Arab world! President Ahmadinejad is constitutionally limited so there will be real elections there, even if all the candidates will be reactionaries.

Anyway, I must not focus on the world too much, too depressing. In other news, only a few weeks ago I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but I’m really coming to love Pope Francis. Pope Benedict appealed to by intellectual side, Francis is appealing to my populist side. The fears of Rome being swamped by liberals were just as unfounded as the fears that Benedict would be God’s Rottweiler writ large. Both men have proven to be tenacious followers of Christ and its so beautiful to see Popes doing God’s will in very different but equally valid ways. This is what it means to be Catholic, we are all members of this universal Church and we all have different roles to play.


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