"Three weeks ago, four cousins from the tightly-knit Christian community, Theresia Morangke, 15, Alfita Poliwo, 17, Yarni Sambue, 17, and Noviana Malewa, 15, were brutally attacked as they walked to the Central Sulawesi Christian Church High School by men wearing black ski masks. Three of the girls were beheaded. Noviana, the youngest, survived, despite appalling machete wounds to her neck.I've not much to add, except I should have included Indonesia in the list found in the last paragraph of this. There's a perpetual refrain one comes across in the blogosphere and it is if you don't have much to say about something, be it the pulverisation of Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, the general incompetence and corruption of the Bush Administration or whatever, you must in some way approve - or at least be indifferent.
The headless bodies of her cousins were dumped beside a busy nearby road. Two of the heads were found several kilometres away in the suburb of Lege. The third, Theresia's, was left outside a recently built Christian church in the village of Kasiguncu.
A week after the attack, a day after Alfita's funeral, two other Christian girls, Ivon Maganti and Siti Nuraini, both 17, were shot by masked men as they walked to a Girl Scouts' meeting. They and Noviana are still critically ill in hospital. All six were Christians in a predominantly Muslim community.
For peaceful Christians many of them refugees from Poso, the existence of Ninja-clad attackers brings back memories of 2001 when hundreds of masked Muslim men stormed one Christian village after another, firing automatic weapons, tossing petrol bombs and home-made grenades into houses and ordering terrified residents to get out for good. They killed anyone who dared to resist.
'The people of the world called the beheadings of these girls barbaric,' says David, a lay preacher in the town. 'Pope Benedict led prayers in Rome for the safety of Christians here, but few governments have expressed real concern. We are on the verge of another jihad.
'Almost all the religiously motivated aggression this year has been directed against Christians: schoolgirls murdered as the army turns a blind eye. But the government would rather talk of gangsters, not jihadists, carrying out the attacks. I want to know why most of the weapons carried by these militants are army issue.'"
I don't buy into this essentially McCarthyist reasoning myself but clearly a lot of bloggers do. So I have to ask this question to all those who claim to care about oppressed religious minorities: while I draw no conclusion from your silence over this, I'm wondering how would you interpret it?