I really wanted to do a cheerful post today. Despite appearances, I’m not by nature a ranter, but crazy things keep happening about which the word processor (now there’s a rant in its own right) itches to seethe. Today there’s a news item about a man in Afghanistan who is on trial for a crime that, if found guilty, will get him the death sentence. What did he do, you ask, expecting to hear that he was caught blowing up a busload of innocent civilians, or rape or child abuse.
None of the above. The man was denounced by his family as having converted to Christianity 16 years ago. On more detailed investigation he was found to be in possession of, not 500 kilos of cocaine or a couple of dozen Kalashnikovs - but a bible.
The governments of Canada, Italy and Germany, countries which have troops in Afghanistan for the maintenance of law and order, have expressed mild disapproval, and the US has made ‘subdued’ representations on Mr Rahman’s behalf, (Britain and the Vatican have yet to comment - we're too busy, it's budget day). But the Afghan government has said it is a matter for the court and they cannot interfere.
But all is not yet lost – the defence is expected to plead insanity. Maybe it’s we who should be pleading insanity – we who thought we went to Afghanistan to put a stop to the human rights abuses of the Taliban.
In the new budget our newly-green government plans to force gas-guzzling cars off the road by increasing the road tax on them by £40 a year: ie. the cost of half a tankful.