Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Good Samaritan and Pakistan

As the Christian world contemplates the life of Jesus this week, it is well to remember that the Parable of the Good Samaritan occurred after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Today, we think of Samaritans as helpful people, but in Jesus’ day they not only weren’t very well liked, they generally despised helping any stranger who might be “unclean.” The Parable of the Good Samaritan is not only a call for us to help others, it is also a call for us to put away prejudice and narrow-minded thinking in doing so.

I have written before about the plight of Blogspot bloggers (the software and hosting service for this blog) in Pakistan. In their rush to free the eyes of citizens from the content and fallout from the cartoon controversy, the Government of Pakistan has blocked all Blogspot blogs. But that isn’t all—in the wake of terrorist bombings on Tuesday in Karachi, they also blocked access to Google news.

There is a burgeoning group of young computer users in Pakistan, and a small core of tech-savvy, well-educated citizens--also young--who seek freedom similar to what you enjoy, right this minute in front of your computer. This Holy Week, will you consider being a Samaritan by bringing these facts to light on your own blogs? Spider, the Internet magazine based in Pakistan, has a number of articles on the subject, which make for interesting reading. You can find further information at Wikipedia.

Pakistan faces a tough challenge. As Pakistan is an Islamic Republic, Pakistanis have been margainalized in the eyes of the post 9/11 world as just another possible bunch of potential terrorists. As a practical matter, Pakistanis are suffering from terrorism, too. And in a sad move, yesterday the UN announced it is closing down many relief efforts in Pakistan 186 days after the Kashmir earthquake.

The country, generally lacking strong tech skills, is being held back by the government’s method of attempting to insulate their people from what they view as blasphemy from the West as well as terror from within. Because the Internet is most popular mostly among the young, government officials are clueless about the value of the Internet and unaware of the really bad effects of low-tech, insensitive solutions to what might be some very valid government concerns.


Post a Comment

<< Home