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Taliban and September 11 related hoaxes
Late last year and email was rapidly circulating around the globe, with both Christians and non-Christians, highlighting the very serious plight of women in Afghanistan.
Readers were informed - with several variations:
Subject: The Taliban
Please do this
Directions are at the bottom...
If you decide not to forward this, please send it back
This is an actual petition, and "signatures" will be lost if you drop the line. Please take 3 minutes out of your life to do your part. And be sure to include other members of your household who are willing to sign.
Oprah recently had a show about this atrocity and it was heartbreaking.
Petition to the United States of America
**** Please Sign at the bottom to support and include your town. If you receive this list with more than 50 names on it, please email a copy of it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if you decide not to sign, please be considerate and do not kill the petition. Thank you. It is best to copy rather than forward the petition.
Melissa Buckheit Brandeis University
In signing this, we agree that the current treatment of women in Afghanistan is completely UNACCEPTABLE and deserves support and action by the people of the United States and the U.S.
Government and that the current situation overseas will not be tolerated.
Women’s Rights is not a small issue anywhere and it is UNACCEPTABLE for women in 2001 to be treated as sub-human and so much as property. Equality and human decency is a RIGHT not a freedom, whether one lives in Afghanistan or the United States.*****
(*** To add your name to the petition, simply highlight all of the text, and in "EDIT" click on "COPY". Then start a new EMAIL, and after addressing it to your mailing list, and adding a subject line, go to the body of the EMAIL letter, and in "EDIT" click on "PASTE." This will give you everything that you copied. Now go to the bottom of the document, add your name. The document is now ready to send.)
Some of the variations have different dates, even different return email name and address, sending the ’petition’ to the United Nations instead of the United States, e.g.If you receive this petition and you find that you will be the 251st name on it, please e-mail a copy of it to: email@example.com. It will then be forwarded to the UN. Please then delete all the names, add your own as the 1st and pass it on.
Between the introduction and the concluding instructions follow some disturbing and quite detailed information on some of the horrific conditions, the restrictions on, and punishments of, women under the Taliban regime.
This was a mixture of fact and fiction.
The truth of terrible conditions under which women were forced to live by the Taliban was not exaggerated. Their status and treatment were one of the most significant human rights abuses in recent times. The news and developments in Afghanistan following America’s ’war on terrorism’, as well as prior reports, confirmed the concerns expressed in the email.
The email was sent out by a person, at Brandeis University, who was genuinely concerned about women in Afghanistan and alerted friends through an email. From there the whole think multiplied out of control into a chain letter as people passed the information on to friends. As a result the flood of unexpected email responses was overwhelming and led to the closure of the legitimate email address. It has no been closed and will remain that way permanently. All emails sent to that email address will be discarded unread.
The extreme and destructive treatment of women by the Taliban led some cynic to pass on the following (politally incorrect) comment in relation to treatment for Osama bin Laden:
What to do with Osama bin Laden:
Killing him will only create a martyr. Holding him prisoner will inspire his comrades to take hostages to demand his release. Therefore, I suggest we do neither. Let the Special Forces, Seals or whatever covertly capture him, fly him to an undisclosed hospital and have surgeons quickly perform a complete sex change operation. Then return her to Afghanistan to live as a woman under the Taliban.
While some may object to this cynical ’tongue-in-cheek comment, it shows some of the feelings raised around the world by the Taliban’s treatment of women.
The issue of women’s rights and treatment has significantly improved since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, but there is still a long way to go. One of the many websites that currently deals with issues of women’s rights in Afghanistan is: http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/
it provides helpful information and links.
The condition of the women was a fact.
That the email was a petition, and that it would somehow have been effective, was nothing but fiction.
It was not a proper petition. It was going nowhere in particular, and it would have been quite fruitless as a means of changing views or improving the condition of women.
Thankfully that email is so out of date that it should stop circulating as a result of the greatly changed situation in Afghanistan.
Another Talbin/September 11 related hoax was the Nostradamus World Trade Centre hoax:
Within a couple of days of the September 11 terrorist attack people were spreading rumours that Nostradamus had predicted the event, and at least one company began promoting a video on Nostradamus hosted by Orson Welles.
Did Nostradamus predict the WTC attack?
Nostradamus - The Man Who Saw Tomorrow
Is the attack on The World Trade Center the beginning of World War III? Did Nostradamus predict a similar type of tragedy that was to lead to the beginning of WWIII?
Orson Welles narrates an incredible look at the prophecies of Nostradamus, whose amazing accuracy in predicting the future compels us to consider what his writings foretell us. Running Time: 88 Minutes
** Nostradamus - The Man Who Saw Tomorrow **
Hosted by Orson Welles, this is still one of the most talked about videos ever made and now with the tragic events surrounding The World Trade Center, this video is more relevant than ever! Take a look at the predictions of 16th century French astrologer and physician Nostradamus. Some say he correctly predicted the fall of King Louis XVI, the rise of Napoleon and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Plus an attack on the Americas that is eerily similar to the World Trade Center. Watch if you dare!
A supposed prophecy by Nostradamus quickly began circulating by e-mail:
In the year of the new century and nine months/From the sky will come a great King of Terror. The sky will burn at 45 degrees (NY is 45). Fire approaches the great new city. In the city of god there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by chaos (Twin Towers), while the fortress endures (Pentagon), the great leader will succumb (Bush "we will find those responsible.")", "The third big war will begin when the big city is burning." - Nostradamus 1654
This statement was taken by many as an accurate prediction of the event and of the beginning of a world war. It added to the uncertainty and fear of many people who received it and then passed it to all their friends, who passed it on to their friends, and the email chain letter spread like a wind pushed bush fire.
A lot of time and energy was expended on this Nostradamus claim: to spread it; to try and prove it; to disprove it.
And it was all a hoax. There is no evidence from any of his known writing that Nostradamus actually wrote this (and even if he had it would be difficult to really prove any connection to the events of September 11). Fortunately this hoax also seems to have died out as events and circumstances developed during the end of 2001 and into the beginning of 2002.
Missing person photo hoax.
The following photo appeared on the Internet soon after the tragedy of September 11 - it purports to be a photo of an unknown tourist on the top deck of the World Trade Centre having his photo taken just before one of the terrorist planes impacted on the building.
It was a sick joke that some people took seriously - and the person in the photo (and the unknown photographer) were regarded by some as missing victims of the terrorist attack.
The plane behind the tourist is actually a stationary plane parked on a tarmac and superimposed onto the background. The tourist is also superimposed - he is wearing the wrong clothing for the warm morning of September 11. The photographer would have seen the plane coming - both would have heard it (had it really been that close and lined up with the building). There are other flaws as well that are apparent to relevant experts.
(From TACL Vol 23 #1 Jan 2002)