Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Once upon a Time
Once upon a time, children, there was a country called Afghanistan. It was a very big country full of tall mountains and proud warlike people. It was very poor but big bad countries, like Britain, used to invade it and try and take it over. They always failed.
Now quite recently, in Daddy's lifetime, Afghanistan had a very bad government called the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. It did some very bad things like starting land reform and building roads and hospitals. It also decided that forcing people to get married was wrong and that girls should go to school. Even worse it tried to stop people playing in the poppy fields. This evil government was supported by a very very big bad country called the Soviet Union which tried to show off by spending more than a billion pounds on drilling wells and other public welfare schemes.
Luckily there were people in Afghanistan who didn't like this evil behaviour and wanted to return to the old ways of wife beating and playing in the poppy fields. These people were VERY religious so you could tell they were good. They formed a heroic band of brothers called the Mujahideen. The Mujihadeen fought bravely until the whole country was in chaos. The bad Russians brought soldiers into to fight the heroic Mujihadeen. Wasn't that wrong? But luckily all the good countries in the world - especially the United States of America-were horrified by this and decided to try and help the plucky little Jihadists. Everyone gave them the latest anti-aircraft guns and money and they were allowed to make lots of cash out of the beautiful poppies. No-one cared that they burned schools down, destroyed priceless cultural artifacts and hated women, because they were fighting for freedom.
There were many great heroes in the Mujahideen. One of them was a very funny little chap with a beard called Osama Bin Laden who wasn't even from Afghanistan but a very good place full of oil called Saudi Arabia. He received money from the good countries in the world to form an international organisation called Al Qaida to continue the fight against the evil Russians. The bad Russians called Al Qaida and the Mujahideen terrorists but no-one listened to them because the Russians were evil, lived in log cabins and didn't know what they were talking about. Thanks to the Mujahideen the bad Russians were beaten and went home. Wasn't that good? The heroic Mujahideen changed their name to the Taliban and formed a very religious government. Everyone was pleased.
But then something extraordinary happened. The United States of America suddenly decided that the Taliban and Al Qaida weren't very good after all! They stopped calling them freedom fighters and decided that it was time for them to be called terrorists.They changed their minds about encouraging them to be so religious, and even decided that they shouldn't play in the poppy fields! They invaded Afhanistan to free the country from the people they'd set up to free the country. It was very confusing, children.
And do you know, some people are so confused they don't think there should be any more fighting and invading until everyone has a big meeting to decide what words like freedom and terrorism actually mean and can stick to them, in their dealings all over the world.