back to article Celebrated Pakistani female online activist Sabeen Mahmud dies in shooting

Unidentified gunmen have killed Pakistani women's activist Sabeen Mahmud in a targeted shooting that also left her mother in intensive care. News of the murder emerged over the weekend, with reports from Karachi that she died on the way to hospital after being shot four times. Pakistan's The Express Tribune reports the case …

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Windows

Yet another hit by people supported by our oil-managing "friends against Putin" currently bombing Yemen because they want to kill shiis for no particular reason while senile tart McCain demands that the US "lead from the front" in playing Al Qaeda's air force.

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Not much oil coming out of Pakistan.. maybe <100,000 barrels a day. There's probably more money in outsourcing call centers and clothing manufacturing for them. So they're not a threat to the Sauds. However, their government and society have headed to the fundamentalist side of Islam with all that entails. The police have been involved in quite a few killings motivated by "threats to Islam". Part of the reason they weren't real co-operartive about Bin Ladin was that they lean towards that mentality.

My take.. the cops got her or they knew who planned it and for when and made sure they weren't anywhere close by much like the revenge killings, honor killings, etc. that have happened. They don't handle dissonance well.. and she was definitely a crap-disturber in their society.

McCain is a running joke on most issues... I'm not sure why you brought him up.

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A politician ordering security services to make arrests on a deadline? Now, how could that go wrong?

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It could only go wrong if they didn't have a scapegoat already lined up......

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Religion + government = bad news.

Always.

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Religion = bad news.

Government = bad news.

Religion + government = bad news squared.

Always.

FIFY

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Religion + anything = bad news

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Your algebra is flawed

R+G=2(Bn)

R*G=Bn^2

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I very much disagree. Government is a compensation mechanism for human injustice: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." (James Madison). That people fall short of being perfectly just and perfectly compassionate might be called bad news (though it is hardly news).

Religion works against some of the ills of crass materialism (apathy, despair, the attitude that might makes right) by declaring that there is ultimate purpose and ultimate justice.

While there are advantages to a unification of the offices of prophet (proclaiming truth both as a comfort and a correction; the role of the press in modern democracies), priest (reconciling truth and relationships; religion in a broad sense plays this role), and king (enforcing justice; the role of government), their unification most often results in no one speaking uncomfortable truths to the king or inciteful truth to the people and no one reconciling the king and the people (making repentance ineffective and so unattractive) or the king and truth (making cover-ups seductive). The efficiency of unification degrades into a fragility of execution. (This is a common optimization issue, not limited to human organization.)

The unification of government and religion also embraces that "masculine" thinking which "has a little trouble recognizing as such some forms of power which are not synonymous with force" (Lois McMaster Bujold, Barrayar). Rejecting the power of personal and social change is very problematic.

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"Religion" is not a constant, it is a variable with many contradictory possible values.

However, I would assess the effective values of this instance of class Religion to eq "bad news."

The class and variable names are unimportant, it is the data values which determine the results.

For a long period of time in the West, religion was a counterbalance to government; corrupted by it to an extent, certainly, but also providing checks and balances on governments' desire for ultimate control over everything. Having made a concentrated attempt to exclude Christianity from all parts of public and private life, we can observe the State extending its domain and tightening its grip; re-asserting the claim it made in pagan times to be the supreme authority over all.

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Angel

>>"Religion + anything = bad news"

Religion + Humour = Hail Eris!

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"Your algebra is flawed

R+G=2(Bn)

R*G=Bn^2"

No it's not. Religion + government is always a magnitude worse than either alone......

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Religion + Humour = Jihad

FIFY

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Anonymous Coward

"Having made a concentrated attempt to exclude Christianity from all parts of public and private life, we can observe the State extending its domain and tightening its grip;"

The Church made a power grab from about 1000AD. They were the king makers and raised armies to establish favoured rulers. They gradually tried to control everyone's life - while amassing wealth and power.

In England the Anglican Church was eventually co-opted as a legal arm of the State to control the largely uneducated masses. The "exclusion" of Christianity is nothing more than an educated population rejecting the Churches' superstition and interference in civil matters.

The politicians still think they have to pay lip service to religion - and the Churches still have undemocratic lobbies in the corridors of power. Every "moral panic" has the Churches' fingerprints all over it.

The State must now pay more attention to the voters' questions - they can no longer rely on the preaching from the pulpit to exert a vicarious unquestionable control.

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Hmmmm, yep, that's about right ....

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Anonymous Coward

"Round up the usual suspects"

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From a friend:

Reading the comments on this on the linked story, there was this one from a friend of hers:

"Two summers ago in london i told @sabeen to be careful and she said, 'someone has to fight.' "

A brave person.

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Anonymous Coward

Not just because she was a hacker/activist

more like 'because she was an educated woman'.(IMHO)

Pakistani society is heavily male dominated just like many Islamic countries.

Look at what happened to Malala Yousafzai. She spoke out in favour of education for Women. She was lucky to escape with her life.

A friend of mine is from Pakistani Kashmir. He left and came to the UK 10 years ago because he wanted his daughter to live without fear (of the taliban etc) and be able to make her own decisions about her life. His ideas are actually quite radical especially considering that he is also an Imam.

He is very open about the problems that the Islamic world has mostly with other Muslims.

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Re: Not just because she was a hacker/activist

@AC

In places like this, being an educated women is by itself dangerously close to being an activist. More correctly it is that being an openly educated woman - one who is educated and says how good it is - is seen as activism.

It's similar to Russia and their laws against 'gay propaganda'. They don't want gay people 'promoting' their lifestyle and opening speaking about being gay is, apparently, activism of just this sort.

When a government so closely aligns with a religious position, the pronouncements of both carry all the more weight; breaking a law is a sin and committing a sin is a crime. Exceptions may be tolerated - to an extent - but should be neither seen nor heard because they risk the 'integrity' of the government. Secular laws can be flexible and changeable but religion is fixed* so any law implemented due to religious dogma must be similarly fixed.

As I said: bad news.

* - Not always and not completely but such changes as do occur progress on much longer time scales than secular equivalents.

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Childcatcher

Re: Not just because she was a hacker/activist

more like 'because she was an educated woman'.(IMHO)

Precisely. The sad part is that she already knew that any appointment involving a government official would set her up as a target. She still did it anyway. Extremely brave.

Slightly off topic but on point is that one of my economics professors was studying what was correlated with future earnings. No matter what society he studied, it was consistently, strongly correlated with mother's education. First-world to Third-world. All those who are strongly opposed to women being educated? <see-icon>>>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not just because she was a hacker/activist

" Secular laws can be flexible and changeable but religion is fixed* so any law implemented due to religious dogma must be similarly fixed."

The recent BBC Four TV three-part series "Sex and the Church" has been very good. The last episode covered the divergence of civil law from religious dogma in the West. It is interesting that the Anglican Church in England lost all control of marriage in 1837. Parliament reverted it to being a purely civil contract - as it was before about 1000AD.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05s7w9f/sex-and-the-church-3-christianity-v-the-west

All three episodes are on BBC iPlayer - and probably best watched as a series to see the power grab and prejudices of the Churches slotting into place.

The presenter, a son of a vicar, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch was refused ordination because he answered his bishop's questions truthfully when asked about his gay lifestyle. No bitter rant though - just a cool academic examination of the reasons for the Christian Churches' obsession with other people's sex lives and their regular silencing of women.

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Anonymous Coward

Religion - the source of all evil

That is all

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Unhappy

Re: Religion - the source of all evil

It ain't just Religion. It's (unchallenged) beliefs of any sort. I'm a born outsider, for numerous reasons*, and I find observing humans endlessly fascinating. I'd be laughing all the time but there are far too many reasons to cry. Sabeen is yet another sacrifice on the altar of belief.

* Autistic (full blown at 18 months), military sub-culture for several generations, Mom's got a Ph.D. in anthropology (area specialty is religion), went into the field with her frequently and typed everything she ever wrote except her thesis, ... lots more actually. Add it all up = outsider.

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Re: Religion - the source of all evil

Really? What about The Quakers.

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Yag
Trollface

Re: Religion - the source of all evil

Extremism is more likely a source of all evil.

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Re: Religion - the source of all evil

@Jack

I wouldn't say it's unchallenged beliefs so much as beliefs that refuse to be challenged.

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Re: Religion - the source of all evil

Any view not supporting the status quo can be considered extreme.

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Facepalm

Re: Religion - the source of all evil

I wouldn't say it's unchallenged beliefs so much as beliefs that refuse to be challenged.

I'd agree to that change. Having been to an (un)healthy, rather large chunk of this planetand everywhere there were more than a few moments when I had a WTF? expression on my face. When I did express it, I was shushed and told not to challenge a belief. It wasn't healthy (i.e. life-threatening). What "we don't get" is that this is how people believe, or more a belief that beliefs can't be challenged. I can't speak to Europe as I never got there, but it's mind-bending once you grasp this and it certainly is the case here in the U.S. that we hold an awful lot of unchallengeable beliefs here as well were you to really look around. It's just that some beliefs are up for challenge, others not so much, and some get you ostracized, exiled, maimed or killed. I could wander off into memes, but what would be the point as even that model has problems despite its descriptive value.

Whatever you (rightfully?) think about James P. Hogan, he did have one attribution in an early novel of three questions he (said he) learned from his kids to ask. "Who said it? What did they say. How [the fuck] do they know?" [My addition] That succinctly codifies my Action-Plan and it's a real surprise when I grok it. I'm mystified that I've lived this long, especially in the light of the fact that authority, no matter how presented, is something I'm entirely blind to. I've been in verbal fights with Admirals and university professors before. Often. Hell, I remember being ordered to never to offer help to an officer with a computer problem, ever again! Probably they should all be relieved I'm a hermit now ;-).

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Coat

Re: Religion - the source of all evil

"Really? What about The Quakers."

Changed their name from Earthquakers...

(Apologies to all affected by Nepal and surrounding areas.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Religion - the source of all evil

"Really? What about The Quakers"

Well, they certainly got their oats!

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Religion = Jam tomorrow

Government = Jam tomorrow

Humanism = There is no jam, deal with it.

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Anonymous Coward

"Religion = Jam tomorrow

Government = Jam tomorrow

Humanism = There is no jam, deal with it"

Made me laugh. +1.

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Black Helicopters

Evernoted! With attribution unless "you've got something to hide."

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A countermeasure or two might have helped

It bothers me that activists in extremely dangerous situations do so little to protect themselves. It may be a sense of overwhelm where they conclude that the government or the police are too powerful and will get them eventually. But why make it easy for them? Debugging and detracking devices are affordable. Activists should take the time to develop a community of supporters and borrow their cars in rotation. Take unexpected routes to destinations. Travel with screening vehicles, make them guess which one you are in. Wear disguises. Have different routes of egress from your house. Be unpredictable. Have a double. Arm yourself. Wear a flack jacket.

Don't go to war with a civilian mentality. There needs to be an Anarchist Handbook for this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A countermeasure or two might have helped

Although you are right, you can no longer call this a life.

This is the whole difference between terrorists and heroes. Heroes use to stand up and refuse to cover their face even knowing very well they are on a collision course with death. The others appear in propaganda videos fully covered and armed, always covering their tracks and hiding their real identity.

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Meh

Re: A countermeasure or two might have helped

Hi, Walter: I wonder if there might be a sense of not wanting to give "them" any more control than they already have -- "I'm going to live my life as normally as possible and not give them the satisfaction of knowing I'm afraid" I dunno, just a guess. If "they" want to get you, they will (especially in areas where corruption and cronyism rule the day) and many of the good ideas you suggest will, IM!HO, only postpone that outcome.

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Meh

Re: A countermeasure or two might have helped

I believe (there's that damn word again) that this is a two parter. First, that it's a question of resources, resources that are entirely unavailable or in the second case, undesirable. Remember the methods of the terrorist, forcing unwanted/undesired change upon society as a weapon against that society. In this case, it's a portion of society terrorizing the rest to force unwanted changes upon the rest. The (only?) weapon to counter this is to live one's life as if this were not the truth. If they can force you to resort to the methods a subversive/criminal/terrorist resort to then you are fitting yourself into that mental straightjacket that model that society has/uses collectively. If it walks like a duck, quacks.... Damned if you do, dead if you don't. What a trade-off.

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Re: A countermeasure or two might have helped

The three replies to my post are characterized by their hopefulness. Sometimes sacrifice works, sometimes it doesn't. But it bothers me that there is a fatalism that attends idealism when the odds are stacked against the beautific rebel. I suppose it's a matter of approach when it seems like the only weapon at hand is the media and the effect that sacrifice has upon our consciences. Asserting freedom of speech in an Islamic culture is pretty much a death sentence and arguably little different in its David vs. Goliath elementaryness than strapping on a bomb vest. Both aim for immediate gratification and could be viewed as infantile for that reason. Certainly it is much more complex to create an underground movement of precise sabotage and public humiliation of the authorities. Lone wolf saboteurs can be effective, as effective as suicide bombers. Freedom fighters erupting from conditions of oppression is a romantic notion, but really, the endeavor takes training and smarts. Good luck planet Earth.

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