Saturday, March 31, 2007

Whatever happened to the 'stiff upper lip'?

Ok, so Iran has gone all Iranian on us again. (Like "postal" I firmly believe that "Iranian" will someday make it into the common vernacular.)

I remember when I was little, my Mum played a thinly-disguised educational game with me called "spin the globe". The concept was that we would take a globe, spin it like a spin-top, close our eye sand stop it with one finger, naming the place we landed on and some random fact about the country. At the time of course, the communists still ran Russia with an iron fist, the Berlin Wall was still dividing Germany, and the middle-east was a hot-bed of anti-Western sentiment. Um... well, so kinda like now (minus the wall) but... then.

Aaanyway.... My mother, determined not to turn me into a political lightweight later on in life, was the one who provided me with the random facts and these usually included the preferred reaction when landing on a potentially unfriendly or enemy country. So, it would go something like...

"Ewwwwwww Russia! Brezhnev! Bad man! Let's spin again and go somewhere else!"

"Oh no! China! Deng Xiaoping! Socialist Dictator! Let's get out of here!"

and finally...

"Iran. Mad-man, Ayatollah Khomeini! Spin again!"

Indeed, it is true that, with even the limited vocabulary of a five year old, I knew the words 'Ayatollah Khomeini' and could pick him out in a line-up any day of the week.

My point here being (other than sharing pretentious childhood stories) that Iran has never exactly been the west's best bud.

Cut to this week's capture of the British military personnel in Iraqi waters by those mad Iranians.

What the heck happened to the British stiff upper lip?

Good lord people! The Brits have barely been in custody for a week and already they've had enough and decided to confess. Aren't these people trained to withstand enemy interrogation? In recent video it looks like they're hanging out after a day at Disneyland, not beaten into submission at the hands of a brutal enemy.

The BBC quotes a fellow shipmate of Faye Turney, the one woman captured and the first to appear in muslim head-dress, apologizing for being in Iranian water: "You can see that she doesn't want to be saying those things - you can see that she doesn't really mean what she's been told to say. The contrast in Faye Turney's demeanour is stark; she clearly appears unhappy" " Well, state the obvious why don't you.

I get that they're in enemy hands, probably being told 'confess and we'll spare your family' or something equally as trite, but couldn't they have held out a few more days? Maybe got a bruise or two on the cheekbone to at least make it look like they were coerced, before folding like a deckchair on Brighton beach?

I certainly don't envy their position and can't imagine what I would do in the same situation... but then I didn't join the Royal Navy. It's just a bit disappointing to see them confessing so soon and, at least it seems on the surface, without a fight.


Chester The Bear said...

if ever there was an argument for cutting our dependence on oil, then this is it.

we shouldn't be looking for alternative energy sources to save the planet, we should be looking so we stop having to pay these childish little people huge sums of money. without that money, Iran would just fade into irrelevance.

instead, we have a bunch of lunatics apparently determined to comprehensively piss us off, and sooner or later, I suspect they will.

ah well... that's what nuclear weapons are for.

as for that stiff upper lip... that would require political leadership and backbone, little of which is in evidence anywhere is the world today.

e said...

The stiff upper lip has been replaced with the floppy self-serving whine.

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