Posted by: lucylastic | June 10, 2010

For Queen and County – watch it and weep………

Dear Reader,

I was all set to tell you about stage two of the epic journey to Iona – but that can wait – I feel compelled to bring your attention to the most emotionally harrowing, mind-blowing piece of documentary television I have seen for a long time.  Described by the BBC as:

Documentary following the Grenadier Guards as they prepare to lead the 2010 Trooping the Colour. But these men have had precious little time to prepare; as fighting soldiers, they have just spent six months on the front line in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Trooping the Colour is one of the greatest ceremonial events on earth. It’s a dazzling occasion, but this is an event that’s far more than pageantry; at the roots of the ceremony are discipline and survival. The ceremony is based on the tradition of carrying, or ‘trooping’, the Colour – or flag – of the regiment through the ranks of soldiers, clearly visible above the smoke and dust of battle, rallying the men. This year it falls upon 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards to perform this prestigious role. This is the story of how one and a half thousand men and women join together to create one of the greatest military ceremonies on earth. It is a ceremony with just one standard: Excellence.

Broadcast on:BBC One, 10:45pm Wednesday 9th June 2010 Duration: 60 minutes Available until: 9:59pm Monday 14th June 2010 Category: Factual

My lovely brother D, is in the Army – an Officer, he’s also been in Afghanistan – he didn’t talk about it much, but then again, we don’t see one another often and the topic of conversation when we do is apt to jump around………. but having seen this documentary, I am inclined to think it’s becuase he didn’t want to say much.  Don’t be under any illusions, the Afghan front-line is not a place to be.  The conditions are more appalling than I ever imagined………. I have watched things about Afghanistan before.  Maybe I chose not to see it, but this time, the sight of the young soldier showing the camera man around his ‘room’ – a space, in a tent, with 11 others, with no privacy, a narrow bed, a hanging set of shelves and a mosquito net made me cry before anything really harrowing was even shown.  Officer’s get a better deal of course – they get to hang out in a large metal container – boiling hot by day and pretty cold by night.  And sand everywhere. 

I shan’t re-tell the stories – watch it if you so choose – but if you do, I hope you feel moved to do something about it – I’ve always been supportive of the decision to go to Afghanistan – but this has made me wonder – what on earth is it all for?  Really, really – these people are not interested in us for anything over and above what we can bring them materially – and the ‘lasting peace’ seems a very long way away.  Please don’t think I take lightly the efforts and ultimate sacrifices that any one of ‘our boys and girls’ have made in going there, but these young lives cut short, or (arguably worse in some ways) destroyed for ever with the loss of limbs, mobility and pride don’t look to be winning any real ground………………… Thank God it’s not my decision to take, but I shan’t be voting ‘pro war’ any more.

It’s available on iPlayer – and probably on various ‘catch-up’ services if you have satellite or cable………………………

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