In the light of reports that the British captives at Guantanamera may soon be released, and having nothing else to say, I reprint an item from the time when almost every week a son of Luton or the Black Country was captured in Afghanistan.
Dudley, Worcestershire, Dec 2nd 2001 - Reuters
Following the revelation that Al Quaeda appear to have had a cell in the Black Country, there are reports that US Special forces have moved into the area. Communication is uncertain due to the difficult terrain and language difficulties (few US troops speak Black Country, and two SAS men from Dudley are acting as translators), but there are reports of heavy fighting in the Lower Gornal area - though that is not unusual on a Saturday when enough Banks's has been consumed. Armed Islamic groups are battling the US in Smethwick and Blackheath, but the US are being supported by local forces. Cradley Heath and Lye are under the control of Baptist militia, and last night a column of armed Jehovah's Witnesses were reported to be moving towards Blackheath from Old Hill. In the North, Pentecostal warlords are currently remaining neutral.
All US bombing has been suspended, following the tragic incident when a coach-load of pensioners from Kidderminster were killed by a B52 strike on the Merry Hill Centre, mistakenly called in after a Debenhams Tannoy announcement that 'Bed Linen is on the Second Floor' was intercepted by SIGINT specialists at Menwith Hill.
And tonight there are reports of unmarked Hercules transports continually landing and taking off at Halfpenny Green Airport.
Already liberal commentators on the Express and Star as well as the Birmingham Evening Mail are asking the question - 'why do they hate us - what have we done ?'. Some have seen a possible cause in the Islamophobic 'pig culture' which has been a part of Black Country life for over two hundred years, and which has produced the crowning glories of Black Country cuisine - pork scratchings and 'faggits un pays'. Others see the root of the offence as the Black Countryman's love of alcohol, as witnessed by the magnificent beers of Banks's, Bathams and Doris Pardoe. A few Christian commentators suggest that the current troubles may be divine retribution for the satanic 'metal' bands such as Led Zep, Sabbath, and Judas Priest that the area has produced. In a statement, Rob Halford of Judas Priest sought to distance himself from the controversy, claiming that he came from Birmingham - and that anyway, under no circumstances did the sounds on track 3 side 2 of 'Hell Bent for Leather', when played backwards, make up the words 'Pork Sword of Death for the Infidel Unbeliever'.
But wiser voices are pointing to the pernicious influence of the U.S. It is known that the aboriginal inhabitants have become hopelessly addicted to the products of the high-tech, superior culture from overseas. Once-proud warriors, the descendants of brawny-armed, 14-pints-a-day steelworkers and miners, now slouch shiftily in the ubiquitous Blockbuster stores, waiting to spend their benefits on the violent, degraded products of Hollywood. Hideous diseases such as 'satellite dish' and 'Jerry Springer' are endemic. Islamic colonists see the degrading effects of such things upon the natives, and are determined that their children shall not imitate the native culture. Hence the virulent hatred of all things American.
For more info on the Black Country see this site.
Moazzam Begg on a loving, unextreme man
3 hours ago