So ever since I read this account of Tariq Ali’s speech in Toronto in which he apparently “eulogized the neo-Taliban as an indigenous movement representing Pashtun nationalism”, I’ve been wondering what Pakistani leftists who support this seemingly ridiculous stance think of it. Today I finally got to talk to one and I came away pretty disgusted from the conversation with a few impressions
- He justifies the brutality of the neo-Taliban by saying that what’s going on in NWFP is just side-effects of the revolution or war and that things will settle down, kind of like the Cuban revolution or something.
- He is willing to support a transnational movement and pretend that it’s just a legitimate nationalist resistance to western imperialism.
- He doesn’t see the hypocrisy in the fact that what he hates most about the US role in Afghanistan (that Afghans were freedom fighters against the Soviets and now terrorists against NATO) is EXACTLY what he is now doing in reverse.
- He really doesn’t care about anything but one-upmanship over the US. To the point where he is actually willing to support the extreme right-wing in Pakistan in order to achieve this!
- And sort of a side-note, but interesting: he doesn’t consider communism or Islamism to be imperialism. I’m still trying to wrap my head around a good way to express the brilliance of this, it’s something like: the trick is to call your brand of imperialism legitimate resistance or justice or something.