Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Plus ca change

Outsiders have been getting shot (and killed) in Afghanistan for a mighty long time -- with little to show for it. As part of the imperialist British army, a well-known doctor received a bullet in the (left) shoulder from a locally-made rifle called the Jezail. He nearly died, and was saved only by the heroic efforts of his orderly.

This was on July 27, 1880 near the once again well-known Kandahar province. The doctor was John H. Watson, who later became the associate and scribe for Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories. Watson was, of course, fictional, but the long history of carnage in Afghanistan unfortunately was not. Here is part of what Rudyard Kipling had to say about it, more than a century ago:

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

The above is from "The Young British Soldier"; this link also has a very interesting history of the British wars in Afghanistan.

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