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Unformatted text preview: ction 2.5.1.
Despite the cancelling of the Saigon analogy in the text of May
27th 1988, on Feb. 15th 1989 Christopher Walker evaluates the Soviet
withdrawal as ignominious.35 In the third excerpt the Soviets are mocked
for not staging a ceremony, although many other ritual departures and
welcomes were reported in an equally supercilious manner.
The secretive nature of the Soviet actions evoked by the verb
sneaked out above is also exploited for the construction of the Soviets as
unreliable and deceitful, as evidenced in the quotes below:
(104) Mr Gorbachev, during his 20-minute outburst against the US summit stand, also cited alleged violations by the Americans and Pakistan of the Geneva accord, signed in April and aimed at withdrawing
all Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
Behind a smokescreen of public denials, the Kremlin is striving
to create a pro-Moscow buffer zone in neighbouring provinces
of northern Afghanistan,
There was truth in its words, but not the whole truth. [About Pravda
report on withdrawal]
In the first sentence Gorbachev is depicted as emotionally overreacting. The
other two sentences show the Soviets as mendacious. The same accusations
were levelled at President Reagan and the Americans in the case of the TL
reports on the American air raids on Libya, in some of the parliamentary reports in The Times on the same issue, and in the American construal of Saddam Hussein as analysed in Sandikcioglu (2000, see Chapter Three, Section
7). Clearly, such accusations are a typical constituent of enemy vilification.
35 The leading article with ‘sparing the humiliating confusion’ discussed above appeared on the following day. 174 Chapter IV The last element of the representation of the Soviets in The Times
reporting of their withdrawal from Afghanistan consists in portraying
them in such a prosaic situation as window shopping, which for them, living in the economy of deficit at home, was a glimpse of another world:
(105) In the Chicken Street bazaar, where off-duty Soviet soldiers often
came to ogle the cornucopia of consumer goods never available at
home, none was to be seen yesterday for the first time in years.
Another salesman was openly contemptuous of the occupying army
which, until a few weeks ago, had 20,000 men committed to guarding
Kabul alone. “The Red soldiers had no money and no manners. I had
no time for them at all they seemed like peasants to me,” he said.
The implication here is that the consumer goods offered in the Kabul Bazaar are more advaced technologically than what the Soviets can acquire
at home. It may suggest that the Afghan traders are more civilised than
the barbarian Soviets.
The fragment published on Feb 16th 1989 and referring to the cornucopia of consumer goods provides a stark contrast for a different description of the Kabul shops, which appeared on Feb 27th 1989 and which
runs as follows:
(106) Among staple items now unobtainable or available only at blackmarket prices well out of the reach of most Afghans are petrol, paraffin, sugar, ghee (edible cookin...
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