15 May 2005

how to grease the machinery of empire

Indian Mutiny
The Indian soldiers were dissatisfied with their pay as well as with certain changes in regulations, which they interpreted as part of a plot to force them to adopt Christianity. This belief was strengthened when the British furnished the soldiers with cartridges coated with grease made from the fat of cows (sacred to Hindus) and of pigs (anathema to Muslims). The British replaced the cartridges when the mistake was realized; but suspicion persisted, and in Feb., 1857, began a series of incidents in which sepoys refused to use the cartridges.

Afghan riots bode ill for US long-term plans
The biggest anti-US protests since the fall of the Taliban are spreading in Afghanistan, kindled by an unconfirmed report that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, desecrated the Muslim holy book, the Koran, to insult Muslim detainees. Several hundred students protested on Thursday in the Afghan capital Kabul. The unrest followed a 2,000-strong protest on Tuesday and riots on Wednesday in Jalalabad, in which four people were killed and the Pakistani consulate, foreign aid agencies, UN buildings, and diplomatic missions were attacked. The riots were triggered by a Newsweek magazine report that said US investigators probing abuse at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay had discovered that interrogators “had placed Korans on toilets, and in at least one case, flushed a holy book down the toilet”. Desecrating the Koran is punishable by execution in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. On Thursday, protests spread to other districts in eastern Afghanistan, as well as to the Pakistani cities of Peshawar and Quetta, close to the Afghan border. Police shot dead two more protestors in Jalalabad and one in the Wardak, a province that borders Kabul. The protesters chanted “Death to America” and called for assurances that the US would not maintain a long-term presence in Afghanistan.

It's about here that Whatsisname's quote comes to mind:
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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