Johnny Seven’s One Man Army & the Mujahideen
[ I’ve struggled with the image settings a bit here- they might push the text about a little oddly in some browsers – Sorry ! ]
Stuck for something to blog about, I consulted my Twitter tweeps, and was given this worrying subject matter by @ByrneTofferings – yes that well known avenger of Councillors from Barnsley, the Libertarian Neo-Con blogger & closet socialist himself. Thanks Tom !
The subject in question being this little gem on the BBC News website : Film seized ‘shows children being radicalised’ which discusses a short video (please watch it) discovered on a police raid in Manchester, but believed to be filmed in Pakistan, which apparently shows young children playing with a Kalashnikov rifle and a pistol, while an adult asks them questions about what they want to do with the weapons, the adult answering for them : “I want to kill the infidels”.
While the police have no idea who the children are, they clearly believe them to be Muslims. Also seized were Flash cards which “instead of having M for Muhammed” had “M for Mujahideen” . (and there’s me expecting M to be for Man, or Mother, or Milk … or Molotov !!!)
To be honest, I think there’s a fair likelihood that these are people who do describe themselves as Muslims. Let’s assume for the purposes of my blog that they are.
The frightening thing in this video is supposedly that these people are indoctrinating young children in the ways of terrorism at a very young age. An age in fact where they are too young to understand what they are taking on, and what it means, which makes them all the more likely to adopt radical extremist positions, and to favour terrorist action when they reach adulthood.
Before I go on I want to say that that isn’t a difficult conclusion to jump to – that’s what it does look like, and in all likelihood it IS what is going on in the video. It’s not pleasant, and I don’t believe children should be allowed to play with weapons in this way, or casually indoctrinated into radical positions.
Is it really so different from what we’ve done in the west for years and years though ?
When I was a kid there was one thing that I never got for Christmas – although I asked Santa for it many times. Lot’s of my friends got one though – a Johnny 7 Gun !
It brought a whole new level of realism to the incessant games of “Cowboy’s & Indians” we played; and also to other favourites like “Japs & Commandos” – or just shooting Germans, which was less intellectual but just as much fun. The Johnny 7 was suffixed “OMA” which stood for One Man Army,
and had 7 different weapons for the well armed young boy in the playground.
But all this was just fun wasn’t it ? Our parents never really wanted us to go out and shoot Germans & Japs ?
And it would be ‘political correctness gone mad’ to start ranting on about how ‘cowboys & indians’ had damaged our youth. Wouldn’t it ? Wouldn’t it ?
Well actually for once, I think it probably would. We played those games because children play with things which reflect the ways of adult life. If the grown ups are farmers they play with toy farms. If they’re soldiers the children play with guns and weapons.
In the early 60’s most kids’ parents had done National Service, many had served in the Second World War. Grandparents had often served in the First World War. The mental wounds from the wars were still etched deep in the nation’s psyche. When I was 10, the war seemed like ancient history – but the D-Day landings were as recent then, as Margaret Thatcher and the Miner’s strike are to today’s 10 year olds.
So I think we could be excused playing with guns. I don’t think it did many of us much harm – I haven’t shot anyone as an adult, and have never used a grenade launcher.
So while I don’t approve of the playthings of these apparently Pakistani children in the video – and would never dream of giving my own children guns to play with – real or otherwise. I think we should cut them a little bit of slack – it doesn’t mean they’re going to grow up to hijack planes or be suicide bombers.
Excuse me now – I’ve got to go ! – my 15 year old son is telling me that it’s my turn to play Call of Duty on the PS3 !
NOTE : Mujaheedeen : Is a word which roughly translates to “freedom fighters” it was used to describe the Afghani resistance to Soviet occupation, in the 1980’s and also to describe the Communist resistance movement opposing the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran – both of which were either covertly or overtly funded by Western Governments.
“Infidel” is a term used by Christians, Jews, and Muslims to refer to someone who does not believe in their religion – often (but not necessarily) as a term of abuse.
“Jihad” in Islam means to “strive in the way of Allah” – although in the West it’s often described as a Holy War. Compare this to the term ‘Crusade’ – which is often used non-pejoratively in the West to refer to a just or moral campaign, but does in fact have its origins in religiously sanctioned military campaigns against Muslims (or ‘infidels’).
Is it any wonder that people misunderstand each other ?