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It's always curious to me what stories hit a nerve in the media. What does it take exactly? The exact recipe of horror, devastation, drama, intrigue and injustice eludes me, I confess.

Once in a while, circumstances collide to garner good coverage for a good story, like that of the brave Malala Yousufzai of Pakistan. Long avoided conversations get started, like, hey, those Taliban are actually really kind of mean and they kill little girls and stuff. But then, another story that seems to exhibit just as much injustice, and with an even grizzlier ending, like that of the slain secondary student, Anisa of Kapisa, Afghanistan, get barely a token mention in passing, with the Government of Afghanistan doing its level best to see the story die promptly, and mostly succeeding.

Like assassination attempts against schoolgirls, stonings are another fussy theme. Mostly we don't meddle, but sometimes we let ourselves get real worked up. Back in 2002, when 30-year-old Amina Lawal was sentenced to be stoned to death by a sharia court in Nigeria for having a child out of wedlock, she made frontpage news the world over. Miss World contestants boycotted Nigeria, Oprah got more than...More >>

Global News this evening reported on the multi-city attack perpetrated by the Taliban over the last 24 hours in Afghanistan. Midway through their segment, a professor from Simon Fraser University named Andre Gerolymatos is shown sittng in front of a shelf of books, making the following no-frills assessment of the attack:

It demonstrates that effectively the United States and NATO have lost the war in Afghanistan.

This is a bold statement about a single attack in a very long war. The attack, aimed against multiple foreign embassies, NATO bases and other targets, resulted in a grand total of 18 casualties: 17 of which were the attackers. It might be a spectacular attack, but this was by no means a strategic victory for the Taliban.

Dr. Gerolymatos' confident but simplistic statement, and the fact that I had never heard of him before, prompted me to further investigate his credibility to assess the complex and illusory conflict in Afghanistan from his office on campus.

As it turns out, Dr. Gerolymatos is chair of The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU, which is "committed to the study and teaching of Greek history language and culture", part of the Hellenic...More >>


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