Friday, April 06, 2007

Pussy soldiers

The episode involving the British soldiers captured by Iran has been a pathetic tamasha of giant proportions, more so after the release of the soldiers.

To begin with, during the crisis many western journalists started branding the episode as a "hostage" crisis. Oh, for the love of Ganpati, from what tortuous path of logic were those sailors hostages? Apparently, Iran had made it clear that there were no plans to use those sailors as bargaining chips, which precludes the use of the term. Even if there was a swap going on behind the scenes that these journalists knew about, they never reported it, which makes the use of the term incongruous. Also, whether or not the sailors did indeed stray in Irani waters is far from being a foregone conclusion, thus whether the event was a 'capture' or a 'kidnapping' remains an open question. It is as if the English language has suddenly evolved over the past few days, such that "imprisoned" and "held hostage" have come to mean the same thing.

As for the sailors themselves....when news of the capture first broke, I was relieved there wasnt an armed engagement that would have foreborne what seems inevitable; but now, given the sailors' desperate wiggling, I wish for their own sake that there had been an engagement so they could have faced their grandchildren without shame. If you remember seeing the shit-scared faces of the first five US POWs of the Iraq war who were paraded on Iraqi TV, if you have seen the faces of Al-Qaeda's about-to-die hostages, you will know what "being under duress in captivity" is. But these pussies, who happily squaked their guts out, smiled like Daffy Duck for the camera, and warmly shook hands with the Iranian president, are now covering their behinds by arguing that all of the above was done under "psychological pressure". And what was the worst treatment they received? They were "blindfolded, bound and...slept in stone cells on piles of blankets". The British Navy's Admiral Jonathon Band actually upped the idiocy by calling these sailors "a brave bunch of youngsters".


The day of the release, all the sailors were seen standing in their newly tailored suits to shake hands with the Iranian president, obviously in a relaxed state, flashing jubiliant smiles normally seen on brave children who are paraded down Rajpath on Republic day on the back of elephants. All they had to do at that point was to suppress the juvenile smiles and act like soldiers, not Boy Scouts, on their way home. Under such distressing circumstances (oh, the discomfort of a hastily tailored suit...), the suppressed smile was the very least act of defiance (apologies for defiling the word by association) to be expected from the Queen's warriors. But there wasnt any defiance in the air that day.

Journalists in the west report all this with a straight face. Why am I not surprised? The brave youngsters who did not have the conviction to give the middle finger to their captors, now dont have the conviction to stand up for what they did; yet, every butterfly that floats down Fleet Street seems to take them for their word, and has the audacity to announce without second guess that all the sailors' actions were because of their ill-treatment on part of the Iranians.

This charade would have been just that - a laughable charade - had there not been the "significance" attached to it...the significance that WMDs had....the significance that going to war needs.

Update: Newspapers all over the world are going ga-ga about the fact that Sailor Faye Turney was measured and she thought it was for her coffin, and they take it as a symbol of the psychological pressure being imposed on her. Ask me, I think she was being measured for the new dress that the world saw her wearing on TV.

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