Blocked Blessings

Sep 24, 2023

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There are many promises from the Lord in Scripture that he will bless his people. But what happens when we block those blessings? Some Sunday thoughts.

Timestamps, Links, and Resources

0:00- Intro


6:33- Blocked Blessings



What is the biblical definition of a blessing? What is it to bless in the Bible?


11:41- Blessings come when we step forward

30:05- We can refuse blessings in our free will

32:50- Afghanistan News

@Punk319 Maulvi Fazl Manullah, also known as Jamjaq, is the son of Maulvi Nizamuddin, from the village of Aghblaq, Kolfgan district, and a veteran member of the Taliban. He forcibly married the wife of a deceased former Afghan soldier and has taken her 12-year-old daughter as a partner

@MahmoudSaikal Ideological courses for Afghan universities | Times Higher Education (THE)

Lectures taught by loyalists seek to ‘turn everyone into a member of their party’, scholar says

35:11- How Muslims read the Quran vs How Christians read the Bible

September 22, 2023: Taliban brings in ideological courses at Afghan universities
Lectures taught by loyalists seek to ‘turn everyone into a member of their party’, scholar says

38:21- Why Muslims reject Islam

39:22- Christian Nationalists and the Taliban

40:00- The Taliban in Afghanistan

@RaisedtoWalk “young, poorly educated, and low skilled” is also an exact description of the rank-and-file Talib
==It’s sad how attractive this mess of Christian Nationalism and chauvinistic masculinity seems to be to so many young, poorly educated, and low skilled males.

@minasharif Taliban do NOT treat all ethnicities equally. As undeniable as the way they treat women differently than men. Anyone who wants peace for our entire country must want respect for all & that begins by acknowledging the truth : that equality is not in Taliban ideology.
=Under Taliban, Hazaras face persecution due to ethnicity and religion. In Uruzgan, the bodies of Hazara father and son were found amid a string of killings. Locals say ethnic tensions between Hazaras and Pashtuns are the cause and accuse the Taliban of favoring local Pashtuns.

@DrIanWeissman The silent bravery of Afghanistan’s healthcare workers. Afghan health professionals – thousands of female among them – are defying daily challenges to provide critical care. #Heros

September 19, 2023: Photos: The ‘silent bravery’ of Afghanistan’s healthcare workers
Afghan health professionals – thousands of female among them – are defying daily challenges to provide critical care.

@DTazeh It is not simply that the Taliban regime denies human rights to certain of its citizens. It defines
as an entirely separate & inferior class of citizens (& humans). This is the very essence of apartheid, which categorically disqualifies the regime as a legitimate government worthy of recognition.
== A significant report by @HRW on gender persecution in #Afghanistan issued shortly before important #HRC54 and #GA78 sessions.

@trina1982t2 There was an entire program teaching mint cultivation as an alternative to opium poppies. I’m sure you don’t need three guesses to know what happened to it when the Taliban took over.

@skotrds 1. In dealing with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, to think one cannot have constructive conversations would be untrue, you can converse, but what is very difficult and is not realized, is action on any items discussed.

2. The IEA are capable of being self-aware of the challenges facing the country, and they can be conversant on these issues. They can understand intellectually, the dynamics of a country, and also concepts like sovereign risk profile – of which Afghanistan is all risk. Pure.

3. The problem is ‘action’, that’s what they’ve not shown themselves capable of doing, we’re past the time of Doha when optics worked or making the right noises. When you interact with them on issues, you’ll feel like you got somewhere in a conversation. You did not.

4. Governing a country, especially one as ethnically diverse as Afghanistan’s, with deep social rifts over 45 years of war, let alone hundreds of years of other grievances is a very complex scenario.

5. Activating that economically is a mammoth project, the US spent trillions on nation-building, arguably making the mistake of putting it at the feet of the military, who made honest efforts but are not equipped for that mission.

6. We discussed concepts like social cohesion, but this is nuanced, and they’ve used those words, but do not understand the nuance of it; it requires creating belief in government and society by means of delivery, and not by means of coercion. Where people invest themselves in the country in a shared manner.

7. Afghanistan is ever so difficult, but to believe at any point a dialogue with the Taliban was any more than words in a room is foolish; to the detainees we have that scenario was built to be resolved as a demonstration that “dialogue can work” without friction, resolved as a misunderstanding, and as a benchmark in international relations. It did not work.

8. The state of both Britons that Presidium represents is severe for one and for the third time critical again for the other. The willfulness of the Taliban to let a UN-badged foreign aid worker risk fatality under arbitrary detention gives little hope for mature policies, and for Afghans likely even less hope.

9. In no way can I understand the willingness of the international community’s readiness to work with the IEA, it was there – it was ready. It didn’t have concession demands outside of basic concepts for international law and standards, it could have been handled so many ways.

10. But at each and every turn since, the IEA has chosen the least cooperative and thoughtful move, moves that have constant and direct harm on the people of Afghanistan, and its place in the world. It’s a great tragedy, especially if you consider tragedy in the ruinous Shakespearean sense and a tragedy where there were other outcomes that could have been so much better for all – tragedies as opportunities willfully discarded.


@RaisedtoWalk Curious @USAmbKabul , was the Taliban seYlling people into slave mines part of that “mutual concern?”.

=== (1/3) Colleagues and I met a working-level Taliban delegation yesterday in Doha for technical talks on counter-narcotics, an area of mutual concern in support of the Afghan people. We discussed eradication, interdiction, addiction treatment, and alternative livelihoods.

@ZanTimes At least 99 former drug addicts have been transported to the mine since March, when the Taliban struck a deal to provide the mine’s operator, salt extraction company Nasir Omid, with a labour force of 500 people taken from drug rehabilitation centres.

June 19, 2023 Taliban subject drug addicts to brutal rehab, fierce beatings and forced labour

Taliban subject drug addicts to brutal rehab, fierce beatings and forced labour

@DyjuanTatro “No matter how many hours I worked, I couldn’t afford toilet paper, soap or toothpaste. We had to pay for basic hygiene products at exploitative markups, way more than they cost in free society, and I was paid 10 cents an hour.”

September 22, 2023  US prison labor is cruel and pointless legalized slavery. I know first-hand
I was paid 10 cents an hour to do menial work that taught no skills or life lessons. Without a college-in-prison degree, I’d probably be back in prison today

@skotrds This sadly, was inevitable and there wasn’t any real effort on the IEA side to take stock of their actions and how these actions have secondary effects, reducing will to provide aid to the country.

@skotrds This sadly, was inevitable and there wasn’t any real effort on the IEA side to take stock of their actions and how these actions have secondary effects, reducing will to provide aid to the country.
== Video: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that Afghanistan has one of the world’s highest rates of maternal, infant, and child mortality, with 699 deaths per 100,000 births.

@Punk319 The president of Tajikistan said at the UN meeting on Wednesday that drug trafficking from Afghanistan has increased “extraordinarily”.

He said that his country’s border forces seized more than 10 tons of narcotics on the border with Afghanistan in the last two years.

Emomali Rahman: Tajikistan seized more than 10 tons of drugs on the border with Afghanistan in two years

@AfghanAnalyst2 The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has documented over 1600 cases of human rights violations committed by Afghanistan’s de facto authorities during the arrest and subsequent detention of individuals, according to a new report released today.

@MHottak Unbelievable. Afghans get jailed when they try to come to Pakistan, and Afghan civilians are actually blinded and beaten by Pakistani police officers just for wanting to go back home across the Durand Line. This vicious cycle of abuse has to end now.

On the order of Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti, the Islamabad police planned to implement the plan to deport illegal foreigners according to Pakistan’s laws.
(Deportation implementation plan)
It was sent to the Ministry of Interior.

For the first time, the role of the police force and other stakeholders in this field was clarified. Illegal aliens are returned to their country with the cooperation of embassies.

This detailed code shows the entire process from the borders of Islamabad to the immigration centers. The first part of this regulation deals with the role of the police.

6/25/14021402 Shahrivar 25, Saturday: Arrest of 18 employees of a Swiss organization in Afghanistan
A Swiss aid organization says that 18 members of this organization have been arrested in Afghanistan. The spokesman of the Taliban in Ghor province said that an American citizen and other employees of this organization were imprisoned on charges of “propaganda and promotion

52:40- Afghan Immigration News

@RaisedtoWalk Great words, now let’s see if Germany’s actions back their words. We have one family in a resettlement camp in 🇩🇪 waiting to see if their asylum case is heard & one @Refugees certified family who has been told they will be resettled in 🇩🇪, but has been waiting for months.
=== The situation for women & girls in #Afghanistan is deteriorating daily. Today, 🇱🇺 🇦🇱 🇧🇪 🇨🇻🇨🇷 🇭🇷🇩🇰🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇹🇱🇮🇲🇹🇪🇸 discussed ways to improve their situation & send a clear signal at #UNGA: the rights of girls and women must be fully respected. Full statement 👇

September 19, 2023: Joint Declaration on “Addressing systematic gender-based discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan” by Albania, Belgium, Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, and Spain

@ackocher Xenophobes: Why don’t illegal immigrants just follow the law?

Me: Why don’t you try explaining one single thing about immigration law and let’s see if you can get literally anything remotely correct.

@ackocher Can a smartphone be a border? In my new article I express my concerns that the real effects of DHS’s recent turn to smartphone technology could be doing more harm than good.

Asylum Seekers Encounter a New Digital Border: Their Smartphones

@steamtug7 Q: You believe in securing the border. You considered becoming an immigration lawyer to help people immigrate legally. Why won’t you take Republican concerns about the border seriously?

A: Because the majority of (not all) Republicans:

1) Demand obedience to immigration laws, but can’t even spell out what the immigration laws are, therefore don’t realize Trump broke immigration laws repeatedly.

(They *literally* think Trump was upholding the law at the border! That’s how little they know of the law.)

2) Insist immigrants arrive legally, but mistake legal immigration for illegal immigration and descend into panic over it (because they’re under-informed about what IS legal).

3) Refuse to do the most basic of fact-checking – that is, look at Border Patrol’s own official documentation of what is happening at the border – to see if what they’ve been told is true

…yet call me (who DOES look at Border Patrol’s reports) ‘brainwashed’

4) Want to write immigration policy to correct imaginary problems, based on their ignorance

As Mark Twain said, it isn’t what they don’t know that is the problem. It’s what they think they know, that just isn’t

You ask, ‘why don’t you just inform them, then?’

I’ve tried. Any non-Trumpy info source is automatically ‘fake news’ to them. You can’t inform people who have been programmed reflexively to reject any source of information outside the Trump bubble.

GOP media strokes their ego (‘YOU aren’t sheeple’ ) to manipulate them into rejecting info from outside the GOP media bubble

So they’ve imprisoned their minds within that bubble, eliminating any chance of critical thinking about the ideas that circulate within that bubble.

@WRNAfghanistan “The Taliban… have systematically restricted the human rights of women & girls & suffocated all aspects of their lives, UN experts said… such treatment could amount to ‘gender* apartheid’.”

New blog out now
*taken to mean ‘sex’

@Punk319 French Foreign Minister: Taliban have placed violence against women at the heart of their political identity.
==French Foreign Minister: Taliban have placed violence against women at the heart of their political identity

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said today (Friday, 31st of this year) on the fourth day of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly that the Taliban have placed violence against women and gender segregation at the heart of their political identity and oppress women because of their gender. .

On the fourth day of the UN General Assembly, the French Foreign Minister asked the Taliban to immediately cancel the restrictions on girls and women, including the ban on education and study in universities and schools and work in humanitarian aid institutions.

Ms. Colonna also added that she will stand by the Afghan people in solidarity and continue humanitarian aid in the health, education and food sectors.

Meanwhile, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the aid of 1.5 million euros to Afghanistan through the World Food Program.

@JeffRigsby2 A special session on “Combatting Gender Apartheid: The Situation of Women & Girls in Afghanistan” just wrapped on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly:

Combatting Gender Apartheid: The Situation of Women & Girls in Afghanistan

There’s a lot to unpack, and I don’t know if a video recording will be available later.


I hope so, because the transmission was a little glitchy. (Maybe a problem on the Afghan end.)

Two of the speakers, UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett and US Special Envoy Rina Amiri, are influential official figures in the international community’s approach to Afghanistan.

So their comments deserve more scrutiny than those of the civil society activists who spoke.

Bennett went over several ways in which international law might be applied against gender-related rights abuses committed by the IEA.

It would take a long thread to cover all of those.

The case has been made that many Taliban policies constitute the crime of “gender persecution”, allowing individual perpetrators to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.

Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists analyzed this issue in May:

More recently the Open Society Justice Initiative has proposed a different legal remedy.

They’ve called for filing a complaint against the IEA at the International Court of Justice for violations of CEDAW, the convention on discrimination against women.

The distinction can be confusing, especially since both the ICC and the ICJ are based in The Hague.

But the ICJ handles civil litigation between states, and it’s historically focused on territorial disputes. Using it as a forum for human rights cases is a fairly new practice.

Some recent precedents have now made that possible: in particular 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘢 𝘷. 𝘔𝘺𝘢𝘯𝘮𝘢𝘳, which charges Burma with violations of the Genocide Convention.

Open Society argues that violations of CEDAW can be brought before the ICJ as well:

It’s important to note that both strategies rely on existing principles of international human rights law.

They don’t entail creating a new offense of “gender apartheid”, which isn’t a recognized legal doctrine.

That’s why one stray comment of Bennett’s is cause for concern.

The ICC exists to prosecute individuals.

And although the International Court of Justice can issue civil judgments against a state party, it has no enforcement mechanism to remedy any violations it finds.

So why does Bennett go on to suggest that “sanctions are also possible”?

“Sanctions can be imposed, and I contend should be imposed, not only on grounds of terrorism but on grounds of severe human rights violations.”

It matters here what’s meant by “sanctions”.

Some sanctions apply to individuals, like the travel bans imposed on many IEA officials.

Those don’t require a formal criminal procedure, like trial by the ICC.

But historically, sanctions imposed on human rights grounds have also included broad-based measures against the offending government’s civilian economy.

That’s how apartheid was sanctioned in South Africa.

Clearly some people find it self-evident that the Taliban deserve measures as severe as those applied to the white regime then.

But it’s not an innocuous analogy unless advocates of the “gender apartheid” concept make it clear that it won’t lead to general economic sanctions.

They haven’t done that yet.

And I suspect that’s why some of the major human rights organizations have been trying, tactfully, to let the air out of the tires on this campaign.

That was my reading of the motivation for the Amnesty report, at any rate.

Bennett’s kitchen-sink approach isn’t necessarily wrong.

But if that approach is going to include support for the creation of a new human rights doctrine, he needs to be explicit about disclaiming any intent to apply it the way it was applied against South Africa in the 1980s.

I don’t want to make any real criticism of Rina Amiri, who knew she was speaking to an unsympathetic group.

And she did push back firmly against opponents of engagement with the IEA—some of whom were also invited to speak.

But unfortunately she did it again. (Everyone does it!)

She described Afghanistan as “not only the worst human rights situation in the world, particularly in respect to women, but also the worst humanitarian situation”.

The first claim is defensible if you focus on rights to gender equality, but I wouldn’t say it’s true more broadly.

The second isn’t true at all.

People only get away with saying things like this because even in 2023, it’s continues to be the case that what happens in Africa doesn’t really count.

It’s not Rina Amiri’s job to worry about South Sudan, Sudan or Somalia.

But I do wish that people would stop saying that Afghanistan gets less international attention than it deserves. That’s a hard case to make, when the most desperate parts of the world are getting even less.


September 22, 2023: Combatting Gender Apartheid: The Situation of Women & Girls in Afghanistan

Combatting Gender Apartheid: The Situation of Women & Girls in Afghanistan

THE TALIBAN’S WAR ON WOMEN: The crime against humanity of gender persecution in Afghanistan

Afghanistan: Taliban’s treatment of women and girls should be investigated as the crime against humanity of gender persecution

November 25, 2022: International community urged to intervene as hundreds of thousands forced into refugee camps as homes and crops destroyed and aid workers attacked

@SarvyGeranpayeh It seems unlikely that the West will change its position on not recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan while they restrict women from education and most public life. My story and a brief review of the last two years under the Taliban. 👇

August 21, 2023: What impact has two years of Taliban rule had on the arts in Afghanistan?
Future of arts and women’s rights remain uncertain despite government backing of cultural heritage projects

@RefugeeCongress “Afghans who are here in limbo tried to rid our home country of a brutally repressive regime…We bring skills and determination to this country and we’re already making significant contributions to the US economy and culture,” CA Delegate

September 18, 2023: Opinion: Thousands of Afghan refugees are stuck in limbo. Congress has a chance to protect them.

@Larkabroad Kandahar, the city, was named Alexandria in Arachosia after the invasion of Alexander the Great in 330 BC. The name “Kandahar” evolved from “Iskandar” pronounced as “Scandar”, in the local dialect version of the name Alexander.

@RYHTexas “We need to take advantage to invest in public education. We need to invest in our teachers.” ~ @Glenn_Hegar at #TribFest23 this morning about funding Texas public schools. We agree.

57:30- Kabul Hope Update


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