Sunday 28 September

It is easy (as well as accurate) to blame our overseas allies for the fact that in many parts of a world so recently your oyster, dead-eyed sharks now lie in wait, incensed to something calmer and more horrible than madness by imperialist behaviors and as eager to bag a Brit as you might be a tiger or marmoset head for the clubhouse wall. It takes a certain amount of spunk to continue traveling indiscriminately, seeking peers willing to debate the sins of the father (not simply bump off the sons). We must remember that the alternative is isolation and regression. Likewise, even when it’s as uncomfortable as a bearskin hat in the desert, we must continue to support our brave soldiers overseas, if not every cause they fight and die for. Yet humbled are traveler and soldier alike as we read of far greater courage, displayed with a reckless logic that those bent on obliteration are too misguided to ever comprehend. Afghanistan has a long and troubled relationship with us; I wonder if the relationship between its men and women has always been so volatile. This week I read of a senior female policeman killed in a typically cowardly attack. Rumoured to have oft given those guilty of abusing women a good, informal battering, documented as having killed three men who had previously tried their luck, this time her assassins took no chances. Her colleague accepts she will be next. Many more will die before women are accepted into office. God is Great. We accept that not all causes can be so straight and true, so black and white, but we can at least equate its multiple heroes with the individual Western lives we take such great care in retaining.

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