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Unformatted text preview: l will mark the end of a Soviet adventure that eventually proved as costly in economic and human terms at home, as it
was politically costly abroad.
Personification is one of the most pervading types of metaphor in the present corpus. It is most often applied to cities which become heroes standing their ground in war (95a) and confronted by a personified regime,
government or army (95b):
(95a) The threat to Jalalabad seems to have abated, as the deadline set by
the Mujahidin for it to fall has passed.
Kabul wrestles with refugee crisis
should it [Najibullah’s government] fail to maintain a grip on Kabul.
Kabul edgy after first street battle
Rebels tighten their noose on Kabul (headline, Feb 10th, 1989)
Kandahar is especially vulnerable because of the distance between
the city and its airport, which the Mujahidin plan to attack shortly.
(95b) the ability of the 40,000-strong Afghan Army to survive on its own’
no accurate assessment of the life expectancy of the regime can be
made until the winter ends.
The personified cities thus can feel threatened, edgy or vulnerable and
they stand up to a hand-to-hand combat, in which they wrestle, or have a 168 Chapter IV noose tightened around them. The personified army becomes a single entity, and as such a single organism it is or is not capable of survival. In the
same vein the regime can boast of life expectancy. All of these expressions seem to refer back to the underlying conceptual metaphor, which is
so well entrenched that it probably escapes the notice of most of the readers. It is also not exploited by the journalists. There is only one example
in which the metaphor NATION IS A PERSON is creatively elaborated on in a
reference made by Mrs Thatcher to the words of Lord Palmerstone, the
19th-century British Foreign Secretary and later British Prime Minister:
(96) Lord Palmerstone’s words about nations having no permanent
friends or allies but only permanent interests have become almost a
commonplace of Anglo-Soviet relations since they were quoted by
Mrs Thatcher during Mr Gorbachev’s first visit to London.
Here the metaphor is employed to construct a cynical political argument.
In the data there are further examples of what may be considered
the blurring of the concepts of ‘war’ and ‘diplomacy’, where war vocabulary is applied to non-military situations, but also when the reference is
unclear, so that the word may be equally well implicating military or diplomatic action.
(97a) When we signed the accord, we pledged we would not take part
in combat operations during the withdrawal if not attacked. But if
we are, we will react in a corresponding way. We can see there are
attempts to torpedo the agreements, and this would have serious
But the exercise, witnessed by a media circus of more than 100,
backfired because of the elaborate security precautions needed to
protect both the Soviet and Afghan participants from attack, not
only from the Muslim rebels who have vowed to keep on fighting,
but also as a result of bitter splits inside the PDPA.
(97b) Rebels attack morale rather than cities
[Najibullah] conducting a “peace offensive” called National Reconciliation on behalf of Moscow...
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