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December 30, 2009

The following is something I posted on Plurk back in August.  I got it from a newspaper article, and it had been doing the rounds on the internet for a while before that.  I was thinking about it today – and over the last few days – and I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share it with those of you who may not have seen it – and to refresh the memories of those of you that have.  It was written by a British squaddie, known only as ‘Peej’, while he was serving in Afghanistan.

As we head into the new year – and a whole new decade – in a couple of days’ time, let us not forget what our troops are fighting – and dying – for.  Regardless of whether we supported the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan in the first place (for the record, I did not), the support of our troops should be unfailing.  They are doing an impossible job in desperate circumstances.  Circumstances the governments they trusted and served without question sent them into.  I am not going to start a rant about lack of equipment or the many other problems they face – that is not for this time.  This is simply a moment to remember.  To be with them in thought.  To take just a few minutes out of our busy holiday season to think about those elsewhere.  I thank you for taking that moment today.

AFGHANISTAN (with apologies to Kipling)

When you’re lying alone in your Afghan bivvy,
And your life it depends on some MOD civvie.
When the body armour’s shared (one set between three),
And the firefight’s not like it is on TV.
Then you’ll look to your oppo, your gun and your God,
As you follow that path all Tommies have trod.

When the gimpy has jammed and you’re down to one round,
And the faith that you’d lost is suddenly found.
When the Taliban horde is close up to the fort,
And you pray that the arty don’t drop a round short.
Stick to your sergeant like a good squaddie should,
And fight them like satan or one of his brood.

Your pay it won’t cover your needs or your wants,
So just stand there and take all the Taliban’s taunts.
Nor generals nor civvies can do aught to amend it,
Except make sure you’re kept in a place you can’t spend it.
Three fifty an hour in your Afghani cage,
Not nearly as much as the minimum wage.

Your missus at home in a foul married quarter,
With damp on the walls and a roof leaking water.
Your kids miss their mate, their hero, their dad,
They’re missing the childhood that they should have had.
One day it will be different, one day by and by,
As you all stand there and watch, to see the pigs fly.

Just like your forebears in mud, dust and ditch,
You’ll march and you’ll fight, and you’ll drink and you’ll bitch.
Whether Froggy, or Zulu, or Jerry, or Boer,
The Brits will fight on ‘til the battle is over.
You may treat him like dirt, but nowt will unnerve him,
But I wonder sometimes, if the country deserves him.

〜 Peej, 2008

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2009 17:55

    oh Afghanistan….

  2. December 31, 2009 20:55

    My son is deploying to Afghanistan in March or April. Thanks for posting this.

    (becster @ plurk)

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