I think it is important to discuss this issue dispassionately, as well as to accurately assess our facts before presenting them.
-You refer to some “UN stamped official record”. The very same UN drug office, in a November 2008 report, had said that “Taliban was stockpiling raw opium in an effort to support prices and preserve a major source of financing for the insurgency…Taliban…have for several years “systematically encouraged” opium cultivation as a way to finance their insurgency…Last year, the insurgents made as much as $300 million from the opium trade”
Source: http://www.ny times.com/2008/11/28/world/middleeast/28opium.html
-Yes, I am from the Indian subcontinent (not that it matters, since I am not big on nationalism). The pre-independence Indians were reckless in not safeguarding their national resources even as the British freely pounded and plundered. Perhaps the extensive amount of strife prevented them from doing so. Any which way, it was the imperialists’ job to plunder, and they succeeded handsomely. On the other, the Indians, whose job it was to protect their national resources, failed miserably in their task.
On the exploration of natural resources, I was basing my argument on Saudi Arabia’s discovery of oil in the 1930s. It was the American co. Chevron that struck oil in Saudi Arabia’s eastern coast in 1938. However, before the Americans could wrest the initiative away, the Saudis moved quickly to nationalize their resources before the American oil cos. had the chance to plunder. See how smart the Saudis were? They knew that they couldn’t find the oil themselves, so they asked the Americans for help. When the Americans did find oil, the Saudis nationalized it before anything untoward happened. And the way they distributed the new found wealth is to be seen to be believed. Saudi Arabia has some of the best infrastructure, health care, and security in the world. (In comparison, see how the Nigerian elite have cornered the oil wealth amongst themselves, leaving the vast majority of the country poor and destitute). In my message, the Saudi Arabian scenario is what I was envisioning for Afghanistan. If there are vast reservoirs of gas in Afghanistan as they say, nobody is better placed than the Americans to find them. In turn, the Afghans should follow the Saudi example of being prudent and making sure that their resources are safeguarded against exploitation.
I thought I was making a practical point. If it were left to the Afghans alone, they will keep fighting between themselves and no effort will be made at finding the said resources. Alternatively, they could hire the help of those in the know, and take a positive step towards development.
I know this is a controversial proposal, and I had cautioned everyone against taking offence. I only request that challenging ideas are at least given some thought, instead of being thrown out of the window at first go. Had we been as stubborn in our outlook towards Islam, we wouldn’t have accepted the message of Our Beacon.
I really don’t mind being accorded the epithet of being subservient to my “benevolent masters”, or any other epithet for that matter. Anyone with challenging ideas is always derided with none-too-pleasant sobriquets, however big or small he is. Sir Syed was called a sycophant; Allama Parvez was called a Kafir; some time ago Ralph Nader was asking if Barack Obama was an Uncle Tom. Umar the Nobody has been referred to as subservient to my “benevolent masters”. No issues at all.
However, as a fellow Muslim, it is my duty to remind you of the following command of Allah:
“O You who have chosen to be graced with belief! No folk shall make mockery of other folk, for they may be better than they are. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they are. And neither shall you defame nor be sarcastic to one another. And do not call each other by (offensive) nicknames. After attaining Faith, evil indeed is (calling by) names that drift away from decency. Those who do not return to the right way are the wrongdoers.” (49:11)
Dear Dr. Saheb,
You may kindly make my introduction if you think I am worthy of such an honour :)
And yes, I got the email of the gentleman in question, and I will be writing to him soon.