occuserpens (occuserpens) wrote,
occuserpens
occuserpens

О Киплинге без восторга

-- But even though the 21st century allows the US to deploy enormous air craft carriers and to light up targets with a laser so that smart bombs can take them out, it is not a century that guarantees that Cheney will get his way in Iraq.

The 21st century is also the century of independence for the countries of the global south. It is the century that followed on wave after wave of decolonization, during which the French were shown not to be able to stay in Algeria, the British were kicked out of the Indian subcontinent, and the Dutch had to relinquish Indonesia.

The French conquered Algeria in 1830 after a spat set off when the local ruler or Dey slapped the French ambassador across the face with a horse fly swatter. Algeria was at the time probably only 10 percent urban, and lacked modern industry. My guess is that the literacy rate was 3 percent or so, and the literate were mainly in Algiers and Oran, the cities. The Algerians put up a years-long struggle against the French with rural, tribal and Sufi resources, but ultimately the French were able to prevail. They had more and better guns. But by 1956 urbanization had advanced, there was more wealth in the Arab economies, and networks of literacy, radios, etc., had been established. The Algerians were socially mobilized and could be politically mobilized by the FLN. The French tried hard to put down the independence movement. There were 11 million Algerians, and something like 50 million French, and the French were willing to see nearly 1 million Algerians die in the struggle.

But in the end, the French failed. In part, this outcome derived from American pressure, since Washington was afraid that a prolonged and genocidal French counter-insurgency campaign would push the Algerians into the Communist camp. Europe is likely to return Eisenhower's favor with regard to the US in Iraq, since the Europeans are petrified that the US will turn the Muslim world toward al-Qaeda.

So actually the late 20th century and the 21st century aren't on the side of the US project in Iraq. Iraqis are much more socially and politically mobilized now than the Algerians were in 1960. Iraq is farther away from the US by orders of magnitude than Algeria was from France, and far less important to its public. (The French had declared Algeria to be "French soil.")


-- Rudyard Kipling. Boots

We're foot-slog-slog-slog-sloggin' over Africa -
Foot-foot-foot-foot-sloggin' over Africa -
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again!)
There's no discharge in the war!

Seven-six-eleven-five-nine-an'-twenty mile to-day -
Four-eleven-seventeen-thirty-two the day before -
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again!)
There's no discharge in the war!

Don't-don't-don't-don't-look at what's in front of you.
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again)
Men-men-men-men-men go mad with watchin' em,
An' there's no discharge in the war!

Try-try-try-try-to think o' something different -
Oh-my-God-keep-me from goin' lunatic!
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again!)
There's no discharge in the war!

Count-count-count-count-the bullets in the bandoliers.
If-your-eyes-drop-they will get atop o' you!
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again) -
There's no discharge in the war!

We-can-stick-out-'unger, thirst, an' weariness,
But-not-not-not-not the chronic sight of 'em -
Boot-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again,
An' there's no discharge in the war!

'Taint-so-bad-by-day because o' company,
But night-brings-long-strings-o' forty thousand million
Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again.
There's no discharge in the war!

I-'ave-marched-six-weeks in 'Ell an' certify
It-is-not-fire-devils, dark, or anything,
But boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again,
An' there's no discharge in the war!
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