Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Soldier and His Girl, or Nationalism Castrated

She was a fifteen-year-old nationalist (nothing out of the ordinary about that; I've even known ten-year-old nationalists). She went for a drive with her boyfriend and they stopped at the lake. I hope he wasn't getting a blow job, for at one point she bounded out of the car and went for an angry walk. Had he suggested something more lewd?

Well, depends on your point of view. All he had said was that he was going to join the army. He was lucky she didn't bite off his pecker.

Now, Bengali nationalists hate the army: which is odd, for nationalism and the military have always been grand bedfellows. The French Revolution created the people's army, first seen in action on a more modest scale during the birth of American nationalism: hence the American love of the military. German nationalism reached its peak under Bismarck and a higher peak under Hitler: in both cases, the militarization of society was a hallmark of nationalism. An English friend of mine (who was twice my age, and died in the '80s) used to tell me how during the First World War, young women would bring flowers to young men not in uniform: implying that they lacked balls. Lawrence's writing is full of the associations between nationalism and the military.

Of course, ours is a bogus nationalism: words never travel, for the way of life that constitutes their meaning never travels. So, we have a bogus nationalism and a bogus democracy. Throughout South Asia, these things are bogus, as many a scholar has pointed out. (A nationalism that finds expression in love for a foreign nation, a foreign culture, a foreign religion is one phony nationalism.)

Of course, in Bangladesh, nationalists have a special beef against the military: the military (and politicians) murdered the Father of the Nation, much as Zeus cut off the genitals of Cronos. In Greek myth, the foam that the dick caused in the waters gave rise to Venus; in our case, unfortunately, it gave rise to the Daughter of the Nation (no Venus, unless Venus in Furs without the looks).

Now, she was interned for a year by the army: hence there is an enduring hatred between nationalists and the military.

As for our fifteen-year-old nationalist, I really don't know if she accepted her hussar, or reproduced little nationalists in her turn.

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