Update 4: Another team attacked in Mardan. A brave policeman guarding the team is dead and another is critically wounded. There may be more.
The courage of the health workers who continue to operate under these conditions…and the absolute evil of those who target them. Beyond words.
Update 3: When the “true Muslims” of Northern Nigeria wanted to learn the straight path they went and bought the whole batshit crazy package. Now they want to make sure they outperform the AfPak Senior league. Well, they have just pulled ahead in the “spread polio” campaign. 9 killed in two attacks. Added to boko haram’s earlier score, this means they are now officially ahead of tehrik e tetanus Pakistan.
I think its a safe prediction that we (as in humanity) will not be able to eliminate wild polio in the foreseeable future because of the efforts of these few determined enemies of infertility and impotence. The anti-polio meme is now well established in the rabid pack of dogs the CIA and the ISI so cavalierly helped to establish in Afpak just 30 years ago. “They grow up so fast”. Learning it was quick. Unlearning will take forever.
btw, I have not yet seen the Guardian’s latest op-ed linking these anti-imperialist actions to poor Dr Shakil Afridi and his fake vaccination drive..or, more creatively, with western drug testing in India. Is Tariq Ali asleep on the job? (do note that the link about impotence that I posted above is from 2007..well before Afridi and his hepatitis B vaccine drive in Abbotabad).
Earlier Update: The gentle souls in the “activist community” in the West will not find it possible to believe this (it is my experience that a certain class of Western activist is constitutionally incapable of imagining that the natives can be evil or idiotic) but the good folks at Ummat newspaper in Karachi have published a “research article” that provides “scientific evidence” about the threat from polio vaccine.
This newspaper is affiliated with the most literate and modern Islamists in Pakistan, i.e. the Jamat e Islami old guard from Karachi. These are the people whom postcolonial scholars like Humera Iqtedar regard as a secularising force in Pakistan (I understand that her argument is relatively sophisticated, but I think its still wishful thinking on her part..like many liberal Muslims she too has difficulty with accepting how committed/bound even modern Islamists are to the same classical texts and notions as their less sophisticated peers). And on the day when 8 polio campaign workers (mostly women) have been killed in 4 different cities for trying to immunize kids against polio, this modern Islamist newspaper has published a major feature article full of ignorant paranoid claptrap about the dangers of polio vaccine.
The main points for those who cannot read Urdu:
Headline: Monkey cells are used to prepare polio vaccine
1. in 2006 Mr Mohammed Nabi filed a petition in the Peshawar high court asking for a ban on polio vaccine because it contained female hormones.
2. in 2004 there was a campaign in Nigeria against the same vaccine and Nigerian scientists determined (via testing in India) that the vaccine was “harmful to the reproductive system”.
3. Ummat has conducted its own investigation on the internet and determined that the vaccine indeed contains female hormones and is made using monkey cells (the last part is true, and led to some SV40 virus contamination in the early years.. but evidence for harm from that contamination is not clear cut).
4. Before 1950 polio was mostly prevalent in Europe and America (the hint here is that we may be victims of a plot that is spreading polio to us)
5. Polio vaccine can cause paralysis. (this is true..in EXTREMELY rare cases. but vaccine associated cases are in single digits and wild type polio strikes hundreds and could strike thousands if vaccination rates fall)
6. Oral polio vaccine is banned Europe and America but continues to be used in third world countries(its true that since the only 3-4 cases of polio that were occurring in the US were due to vaccine, wild type polio having been wiped out USING THE VACCINE, therefore it made sense to switch entirely to the more expensive and less immunogenic injectable vaccine…why risk OPV-associated polio. The situation is completely different in endemic regions and the risk-benefit ratio is very much in favor of OPV);
7. In India it has led to a 1200% increase in paralytic polio (I am not sure what this claim is supposed to mean and I am too tired to look it up…input welcome).
The point is that Ummat is feeding anti-polio vaccine hysteria (especially with its baseless claims about female hormones and danger to reproductive health) just as their Taliban brothers are shooting innocent female health workers trying to immunize children who are at risk.
Original post: This is so low that nobody would believe it if it was in a novel. The writer would be accused of the worst kind of islamophobia. To imagine that there are religious militants who will plan and execute the assassination of innocent polio workers..who except a truly evil Islamophobic moron could possibly imagine such a thing?
In separate, coordinated attacks in Karachi AND Peshawar, our friendly neighborhood terrorists (almost certainly connected with the Pakistani Taliban) have shot and killed 5 young women and one man for the crime of administering polio drops.
In 2010 the CIA hired Dr Afridi to try and get DNA samples from a house in Abbotabad. To do this, he created a fictitious vaccination drive and hired lady health visitors to go to the house to “vaccinate” the children and obtain the said samples. This was a terrible thing to do because it made it easier for the Jihadist morons to condemn all vaccination teams past and present. This fact has been pointed out and commented upon and rightly so.
But let us not compare the CIA’s perfidy with what the terrorists have done before or since. THAT too would be to miss the point. The terrorists will do what even the CIA has difficulty imagining (and much more difficulty ever publicly admitting or supporting): kill innocent health workers to make their point. And sentence thousands of kids to paralysis or worse. And feel no regret or remorse.
btw, anti-polio vaccine propaganda did NOT start with the Bin Ladin thing. It had been reported from the frontier region (and polio teams had been attacked in that region) for many years prior to the Bin Laden raid.
Its beyond awful.
Its worth noting that this is clearly NOT the work of one demented madman or even a few demented mad men. Its a movement. And they have “freedom of movement” across the length and breadth of Pakistan.
And they are getting mucho sympathy from fellow anti-imperialists and anti-globalization activists, who are providing them with new and better justifications via the internet. Ironically, another feature of globalization.
Update2: The inimitable Hakim Hazik has found a claim of responsibility for these acts. Comrade Ehsanullah Ehsan is generally correct in his historical claims but makes the mistake of attributing invention of vaccination to the Christians. It is now believed that it was already practiced in China and perhaps even earlier in India by the idol-worshipers of Hindustan. That minor correction aside, comrade Ehsan’s statement is unblemished. May Allah guide us all to similar wisdom. Amin.
We cannot allow this to happen.
Instead we will kill all our girls with a bullet in the head, except those who have escaped to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham at the behest of the Jewish Hindu apostate and the agent of pork eaten RAW, Barak Obama.
He can launch as many drones as he likes but the sons of Islam will congregate to the world centre of the Caliphate and of polio, Miramshah Sharif in the North Waziristan Sharif. They will come from Chechnya, they will come from Tashkent with a white shroud tied to their heads, some with tattoos and some without, but with only one thought in their mind: to uphold the honour of Islam and of polio. May Allah SWT accept their sacrifice.