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Unformatted text preview: tional loaves of bread’, as
well as slogans alien to the readers of The Times like ‘internationalist
duty’, its strangeness further emphasised with the use of the quotation
marks, emerges from the following passage:
(101) Mother Russia’ stages joyous border welcome;
The column then drew up in front of a reviewing stand where it was
addressed by local party officials and a cluster of generals. The
men were told that they had come back after fulfilling their “internationalist duty” in Afghanistan, and that Mother Russia would accord them special respect for their courage and heroism. 172 Chapter IV This message was reinforced by the slogans on the vehicles which
declared: “We have fulfilled the Motherland’s order”, “Hello
Motherland” and “Motherland, meet your sons”.
After the ceremony the soldiers were briefly mobbed by journalists
and local Uzbek women offering them red carnations, the chance to
send a telegram home and traditional loaves of bread, the word
“peace” baked on top.
The picture above strikes one with its foreignness and artificiality, while
the fragment below, although attributed to a despatch from a Soviet journalist of Komsomolskaya Pravda, is a clear mockery, ridiculing the spectacle into which such political and military operations can be transformed:
(102) Soviet general will sign off with soliloquy
FROM EDWARD GORMAN, TERMEZ, SOVIET UZBEKISTAN
Lieutenant-General Boris Gromov, the Soviet Commander-in-Chief
in Afghanistan, will be the last Kremlin soldier to leave the country,
according to Mikhail Kozhukov, veteran war correspondent of the
newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
In a despatch yesterday he reported: “On February 15 at 10am local time, Lieutenant-General Boris Gromov will be the last to cross
the bridge. He will pass without looking back. Then he will stop and
‘deliver a speech’, but just to himself. It will last one minute, seven
seconds. It will not be written down nor listened to.”
The use of meticulous detail ([the speech] will last one minute, seven seconds) in combination with the future tense adds to the sense of the surreal
of the predicted scene.
The disdain also rings in phrases such as
(103) He [one Western military source] added: “One should be wary
against portraying this as the Soviet Army slinking out with their
tail between their legs.” (AN INSTITUTION IS A PERSON + PERSON IS
AN ANIMAL conceptual metaphors)
Everywhere the signs of the final ignominious Soviet departure are
to be seen.
It was fitting that the last Soviet soldiers to leave Kabul sneaked out
under cover of darkness on Tuesday night, with no ceremony and no A qualitative analysis of war news 173 attempt to put a brave face on their withdrawal. Like the other retreating troops encountered by Western journalists, their main emotion was an undisguised sense of relief.
The negating of the scornful predication in the first sentence does not annul
the frame (Lakoff 2003, see footnote 24, this chapter) in which the Soviets
are depicted in such derogatory terms as the mad dog Colonel Gaddafi in
President Reagan’s and Vice-President Bush’s wording referred to in Se...
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