Friday, November 5, 2010

agents and ages of akays

checkin' on fp's interview with c.j. chivers and the history of the dastardly akay; it's myth, it's backstory, it's proliferation, it's infuriating durability.  new book, 'n all.  The Gun.  some funny sounding parts have yanks all annoyed that the same gawdamn akays they gave those muthafukas in the eighties are shootin' at 'em today.  blowback is a bitch, as they say.  somehow, it all becomes the ruskies' fault.

sounds like an interesting read considering how chivers got the story -- at least what he could get.  which appears to be a fair amount.  old soviet archives, dirty double dealings, back stabbing, gettin' into the social dynamic introduced by the firearm and it's proliferation, shit like that.  seems ol' kalashni grabbed all the credit, stole all kinna others' designs, even fought one guy on design, and, when the design proved superlative, claimed it his own.  usual human crap.

anyway, not far along, discussion vectors in 'bout the akay's symbolism in various contexts,
This is a rich and rewarding line of reporting. In it is a pantheon of modern war. Saddam Hussein handed out rifles that were plated in gold; they were strongman party favors. Bin Laden has made a point of being photographed with the version of the rifle carried by Soviet helicopter crews in the 1980s, a clear case of the rifle, almost like a scalp, signifying martial cred.
firstly, and in consideration of what US troops have allegedly been doing in Afghanistan of late, it seems to me that  the word "scalp" really ought to be avoided via-a-vis the whole terrorBinLadenMuslimAfghanistanInvasionGwotDroneDeathSquadScalpTaker context.

but back to that big fat ol' symbolism; there's ol' bin laden, horking up a chunk load of verbal abuse, and or instruction, depending upon perspective, and posing with a soviet air crew akay.  big, symbolic thing, right?  if we know anything, that ol' bin laden likes his symbolism.  big symbols. took ya down, and booted your ass out!

which is why i find this next parenthetical remark by the author a tad curious:
(In this case, he might be trying a little too hard, because there is no credible evidence I know of that he was ever involved in downing a Soviet helicopter.)
you've just written a book detailing the history of the Avtomat Kalashnikova 47, recounting the symbolism of the weapon as a tool of resistance and revolution, and you really think that the message binny is sending you is that he personally shot down a soviet helicopter, killed the crew, took the guns?  and that's it?

you think that's the message?

sign reads: when you come here, we will fight you, we will kill you, we will take your guns, and you will leave.  we have done this many times before in the stan of the afghans.  nunuhyuh ever seem to learn.

worse now though.  pipelines planned for all over the place, got all them ever more desperately needed gems and metals in a ground just itchin' to be scratched by foreign direct investment.  chinese shuttin' down, or threatening to shut down, re exports; got a few shittin' a brick.  hell, last i saw, the chinese were already in ghan'stan minin' away with US troop protection, if i recall that bizarre tale correctly.

can't not agree with chiver's on one thing, though.  the age of the akay will be a long one indeed, while the pentagon and every other major weapons dealer dole them out by the truck, ship, and plane load.  no end in sight.

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