In which while looking for stuff on Islamophobia I find really interesting articles on the rise of the Taliban and on unionisation of sex workers
It's a funny old world. I was making my way via Google to Islamophobia Watch, a site I visit from time to time to see what the crazies are up to, especially the ones in the UK. I chanced upon a site full of a diatribe against IW by Edmund Standing, an oddball weirdo who has come on the receiving end of its criticism for denying that the British National Party is Islamophobic. (No, really, it's all just coincidence.) I the course of his raging against the "Marxist" who runs IW, he linked to this amazing 2008 article on the situation in Afghanistan. It's the best summary of how we got where we are (or more accurately, how the Afghans got where THEY were in 2008) that I've ever read. It explains why, after many years of a generally left-leaning regime in Afghanistan, there is now very little popular support for the left, for feminism or for secularism (Standing doesn't consider the Taliban right-wing, presumably in the same way that Bonni Benstock-Intall complains that Hitler was a far-left socialist). I hadn't appreciated that feminists and the left overwhelmingly supported the Russian invasion which led to the death or displacement of around two-thirds of the population. it's not hard to see how this would be unpopular, or how its unpopularity would take many years to overturn. Then this century the same factions supported the US-led invasion, ensuring that the Taliban would have pretty much unopposed popular suport for another generation. For Standing, of course, to explain how the Taliban's support came about is to support acid attacks on schoolgirls.
And while I was browsing around the International Socialism site I found this excellent article from 2010 on sex work and the unionisation of sex workers. Regulars will know that it's a topic dear to my heart (all the more so since I narrowly missed getting a job in an NGO campaigning for sex workers's rights internationally - the ones who run this scheme in fact.) So you won't be surprised that I found the article interesting, especially given my trade union history.