Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Great Game - Themed Thursday Entry for "Game"

Themed Thursday - Blog Post - The Great Game

As a kid I was captivated by the history of the Great Game.  No - this wasn't Game 7 of the 1960 World Series when the Pittsburgh Pirates won the series with a walk off home run by Bill Mazeroski on October 13, 1960.  (Fifty years ago today!)  The Great Game was the geo-political battles fought by Great Britain and Russia in the 18th and 19th century for control of Central Asia.  The main battleground of this "Great Game" was a place that is familiar to us today - Afghanistan.

(British Army Retreating from Afghanistan Battle - Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

I became so interested in the whole history of the Great Game because in 1978 when I was 12 years old the Soviet Union made a fatal mistake and invaded Afghanistan.  As the tribes and clans of Afghanistan united against the invader the Soviet Union became a casualty of history and collapsed.  The entire war in Afghanistan back then didn't make the newspaper or nightly newscasts that much, but I searched out anything I could find about the war.  I listened to reports of it on my shortwave radio.  I read in-depth articles about it in Soldier of Fortune magazine.  I did reports about it for my 8th grade social studies class.  I became engrossed in everything that had to do with Afghanistan the disasters that followed the Soviet army there.

As I read more and more about the Soviet Afghan war I was drawn to know and understand the history of Afghanistan.  I read with wide eyes the histories of the British forays into Afghanistan in the 19th century and the misfortune that followed.  I captivated by the story of the first Afghan Anglo war in which the entire British occupying force of over 16,000 men was massacred with the exception of one person - Dr. William Brydon.  As I read more and more about the Great Game, I realized how many times the sad history of the "conflict" has been repeated over and over again.

The British made the mistake of repeating their actions 3 times.  Finally in the early 20th century they learned their lesson and left Afghanistan alone.  It took the Soviets 10 years to learn their lesson as they attempted to occupy Afghanistan from 1978 to 1988.  It cost the Soviet army the lives of almost 15,000 soldiers.  Of course the losses on the Afghan side were even worse as they were estimated between 100,000 and 2 million.  The economic devastation caused by the Soviet Afghan war was a contributing reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990's.

Despite our noble intentions when we invaded in 2001 - and we were right to invade - don't get me wrong, we are now stuck in the same exact nasty situation the Soviets were and the British before them and for that matter - every other conquer before the British.  (Alexander the Great even invaded Afghanistan!  The empire he raised there only lasted a few years before it too was extinguished.)

I think the whole history of this troubled land is interesting.  It has played such a central role in so many world events today and in the past.  It was a bit of a backwater in the early 20th century but now, it seems like this land has driven so much of the turmoil in the world today.

For the people of this land I am certain they must be tired of the constant drum of war.  If only some how peace could come this land and the stupidity of the Great Game and all the conflicts that have followed it could be forgotten.

Besides my Themed Thursday post there isn't a whole lot to note for today.  It was another busy day in Boulder for me.  Zack had a bunch of home work to do tonight and Nancy is sick as a dog.  She originally seemed to have a cold now she is sporting a fever and just not feeling well.  I am working from home tomorrow so if she isn't doing any better I will make sure she gets to the doctor.  Tomorrow will also be a platelet donation day.  It has been a while since I did that so I managed to get an appointment that will allow me to donate without interfering with work.

For more information about Theme Thursday please see the following link: THEME THURSDAY.

The week is half over!  I hope everyone is already starting to think of the weekend and make some good plans.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


Rolando said...


Prayer Girl said...

I'm not a history buff, but your theme Thursday captured my attention. I enjoyed the read.