Friday, 12 February 2016
In these turbulent times a man has to be wise to the ways of the world. When the forces ranged against you are just as likely to be those of your own side as those of the named enemy you need to be ever alert to the threat. ‘Trust nobody’ is a watchword for all, especially those venturing toward danger. And a wise question to ask yourself is ‘who stands to profit most?' Thus the current prevarication in the Conservative Party over EU membership should be viewed through murky, venal, suspicious spectacles and any hint of rosiness dismissed as a freak of light.
And as in domestic politics so it is in the theatre of war. During the overthrow of the Libyan town of Sirte by ISIS jihadis, a Labour politician, a reporter and a Soldier were captured, paraded before the worlds’ media and told they were to be beheaded. In reverse order of remuneration; the politician was there on a ‘fact-finding mission’, the reporter was trying to get himself a Pulitzer Prize scoop... and the soldier was just doing his job. In a move calculated to heighten their sense of loss, they were each offered a last wish – within the bounds of practicality – before they met their very public end.
The politician, without any discussion of pecking order, or sensitivity towards his fellow captives, immediately blurted out that he would like to hear “The Internationale" one last time, confident that the communist anthem was likely to be a difficult request to fulfil and thus buy some time for a rescue. But, of course, he reckoned without YouTube and within minutes he was listening to its stirring chords and tearfully singing along.
The reporter, ever hopeful of an award, asked that he be allowed to deliver his last report direct to camera so that his words might live on even after his head had rolled from his lifeless corpse. The terrorists agreed and duly set up the camera intended to record their last moments on earth. In a halting yet defiant voice the reporter recited his piece to the waiting world. Despite the impending execution, he took heart from his performance, only realising right at the end that this would be the last time.
The Soldier watched the performances of his fellow captives with a rueful countenance and when his time came he looked his captors in the eye and asked that all six of them should give him a good kick in the arse before they got out the scimitar. The other two stopped their grizzling and watched, amazed, as one by one the ISIS goons lined up, took a run and booted the soldier in the fundament. He winced with each blow but, as the last boot went in he made his move.
Rolling forward he whipped out the Browning 9mm pistol he had managed to conceal in his boot and picked off three of the terrorists before they even realised what was happening. Running out of ammunition he wrested the AK47 from the dead hands of one of the would-be executioners and continued firing until the last of them fell. The politician and the reporter looked on in amazement and then all three of them got to their feet and burst out into the street where they ran and ran until they managed to join a convoy of evacuees making for the docks.
Aboard the open-topped truck the reporter and politician thanked the soldier profusely and told all who would listen about his heroic deed. “But why,” asked the politician “did you ask them to kick you so brutally before you acted?” The soldier shrugged and looked from one to the other of his fellow ex-captives. “What, and have you two stringing me up back home for carrying out an unprovoked attack?”