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USAF troops fight to save Soviet AF monument in Afghanistan


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See and reply here, please:

 

http://www.forum.lockon.ru/showthread.php?t=18699

 

P.S. The original thread is both Russian and English. Most of the English starts on the second page. For a quick synopsis, check my post below.

 

P.P.S. I was hoping to keep all Russian and English replys in the general sub-forum thread linked above. Thank You.

- EB

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From what I could understand by reading russian, it's an american guy called David, a member of USAF serving in Bagram, Afganistan, who few days ago found the memorial to be in a fairly good shape: no pictures, no names/titles and a missing Su-25 model that used to be on the top of it.

 

He intends to restore the monument and has contacted an office of aviation history.

 

That's it. Someone can fill in the details.

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OK, I'll try. Kenan is on the right track. David and his colleagues in the USAF found the partly abandoned monument on Bagram airbase. It was honoring 5 Su-25 pilots KIA around 86-87. Three of them were graduates of the same class. It was constructed by airbase personnel on their own accord, time and materials. When the Soviets withdrew, they stripped the monument of the photos, the plane, and the lettering, taking all this back home.

 

The monument was to be bulldozed, but David attempted to prevent that from happening. Through various contacts and the power of the internet, he got in touch with someone on the Russian side, who in turn got in touch with some more people and the whole thing grew into an truly cooperative project. Media interviews were done on both sides and an official meeting was scheduled on the USAF side to decide on the fate of the place. David's idea was to not only restore this particular monument, but secure a part of the area for future monuments to fallen American, Afghan, and other nations' soldiers.

 

The project appeared to be headed for success, with quite a few Russians, both civilian and veteran, wanting to help and participate in any way possible and more US personnel getting involved. Construction of a new Su-25 scale model was begun and David was expecting good news from the decision meeting.

 

To everyone’s disappointment, he was apparently ordered to stop all activity and communication around the project. He hasn't lost faith and left another contact for further communication. And that's where things stand...

- EB

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Very bad judgement

 

Seems like a very bad idea to me : one foreign (by many in Afghanistan regarded as invading or at least occupying) army wants to put back up a monument to honor some soldiers from another foreign (by most in Aghanistan regarded as invading) army !

 

Can you imagine what the Russian reaction would be if the French would want a statue on the Red Square in Moscow to honor Napoleon for his Russian Campaign, or what the British would say if someone wanted a monument for some German pilots that bombed London in WWII and didn't come back ?

 

The people that wanted to go ahead with this project clearly were NOT thinking about sensibilities of the inhabitants of the country they are in.

Talk about an insult to the Afghans...

 

That's my personal opinion, without wanting to make this a political rant.

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Seems like a very bad idea to me : one foreign (by many in Afghanistan regarded as invading or at least occupying) army wants to put back up a monument to honor some soldiers from another foreign (by most in Aghanistan regarded as invading) army !

 

Can you imagine what the Russian reaction would be if the French would want a statue on the Red Square in Moscow to honor Napoleon for his Russian Campaign, or what the British would say if someone wanted a monument for some German pilots that bombed London in WWII and didn't come back ?

 

The people that wanted to go ahead with this project clearly were NOT thinking about sensibilities of the inhabitants of the country they are in.

Talk about an insult to the Afghans...

 

That's my personal opinion, without wanting to make this a political rant.

You're quite correct, but it doesn't feel right to just destroy it, maybe it could be moved to russian soil.

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Seems like a very bad idea to me : one foreign (by many in Afghanistan regarded as invading or at least occupying) army wants to put back up a monument to honor some soldiers from another foreign (by most in Aghanistan regarded as invading) army !

 

Can you imagine what the Russian reaction would be if the French would want a statue on the Red Square in Moscow to honor Napoleon for his Russian Campaign

You could expand the bounds of your imagination then.

Though some backyard at Bagram AB is not the place of the same meaning to Afghan people as the Red Square to Russians - here you go, this is a monument "To the dead soldiers of the Great army", placed at the command position of Napoleon's staff, Borodino. It's built by Russians, and guess which army it honours.

 

That's my personal opinion, without wanting to make this a political rant.

It's already political, and thus incorrect.

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Seems like a very bad idea to me : one foreign (by many in Afghanistan regarded as invading or at least occupying) army wants to put back up a monument to honor some soldiers from another foreign (by most in Aghanistan regarded as invading) army !

 

Can you imagine what the Russian reaction would be if the French would want a statue on the Red Square in Moscow to honor Napoleon for his Russian Campaign, or what the British would say if someone wanted a monument for some German pilots that bombed London in WWII and didn't come back ?

 

The people that wanted to go ahead with this project clearly were NOT thinking about sensibilities of the inhabitants of the country they are in.

Talk about an insult to the Afghans...

 

That's my personal opinion, without wanting to make this a political rant.

 

 

One man from an invading army wants to restore a monument to another invading army - from the look of things, his superiors disagree with him ;)

 

From the average-Afghan point of view it sucks, but then so will anything.

 

 

From US/Russian point of view . . . . it's a touching recognition of the sacrifice made by five young men who wanted to serve their country. They do the same job, they weren't exactly on different sides . . . . shrug.

 

Even airmen on different sides can get on afterwards - they do the same job, it's a serious bit of common ground.

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You could expand the bounds of your imagination then.

Though some backyard at Bagram AB is not the place of the same meaning to Afghan people as the Red Square to Russians - here you go, this is a monument "To the dead soldiers of the Great army", placed at the command position of Napoleon's staff, Borodino. It's built by Russians, and guess which army it honours.

 

 

It's already political, and thus incorrect.

 

I disagree. The monument to which you refer was erected in 1913, 100 years after Napoleon's campaign. The Russian war in Afghanistan is much more recent and those wounds have not healed yet. They may with time, but I don't think that time has come yet.

 

Consider this : you know someone that is not a friend, but that you don't dislike either. You know of something in that person's past that will hurt him/her profoundly, but that fact or the hurt it may cause has absolutely nothing to do with you. You would get nothing out of it, no satisfaction whatsoever, but see someone hurt. Do you bring that subject up, just for the hell of it ? No, you don't. The USAF personnel did not know the Russian pilots that the monument is honoring, but they do know (or should know) that that war has left wounds that have not healed yet.

 

On the other hand, moving the monument to Russia, seems like a better idea to me.

 

If you mean that my opinion was political, then I can only say that is wasn't meant to be. I don't believe that I declared any positive or negative feelings that I may or may not have in favor of or against the past Russian or the present American presence in Afghanistan (I can't possibly be more neutral than this ;-)). It is just my personal opinion that it was a bad idea to restore that monument at that location. Nothing more, nothing less. That this is due to political context, both past and present, is something that is impossible to avoid.

 

And I don't believe that it is "incorrect" to have a personal opinion, or even a political opinion (to which I'm entitled). It is simply my opinion. You can have your own opinions, but you can't say that my opinion is incorrect without knowing me or my political opinions better than you do.

 

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Guest IguanaKing

I agree with those who say its the right idea, but the wrong place. Perhaps a cooperative effort to move it out of Afghanistan between the CIS and US, so it can be in a place where the local population will appreciate it? That's what I'd go with.

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I disagree. The monument to which you refer was erected in 1913, 100 years after Napoleon's campaign.

Well, that was your idea, though you don't like it any more.

 

The Russian war in Afghanistan is much more recent and those wounds have not healed yet. They may with time, but I don't think that time has come yet.

That's a political kind of thinking on the subject. David and company are thinking _different_, that's the point.

 

Consider this - we do not know much about "wounds" of local people, but we do know that they left this installation untouched for a pretty long period of time. Not a single person there did perform a very simple thing - blow it up - that's what's usually made with public symbols, when they really hurt people's memories. Guess local people are thinking _different_ too, just as many of the Russian and US soldiers who've been there.

 

And I don't believe that it is "incorrect" to have a personal opinion, or even a political opinion (to which I'm entitled). It is simply my opinion.

It was the comment on the opinion itself, and not on your rights of having such an opinion. So that's another incorrect statement, sorry.

 

You can have your own opinions, but you can't say that my opinion is incorrect without knowing me or my political opinions better than you do.

There's a logical contradiction. On one hand, i can have my opinions. On the other, i can't have my opinions on your opinions. Well, that's okay... since it's just your opinion )) But again it doesn't seem to be correct... sorry once more.

 

-----

 

P.S.: I'm just disappointed that the thing all of those men wanted won't happen. And your idea of moving the monument to russian soil is good... but i guess that won't happen either :\

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I agree with those who say its the right idea, but the wrong place. Perhaps a cooperative effort to move it out of Afghanistan between the CIS and US, so it can be in a place where the local population will appreciate it? That's what I'd go with.

 

My thoughts exactly. I think saving the memorial is a very honourable thing to do, but if the locals don't accept it chances are slim that the memory of the pilots can be preserved in peace. That is what it should be after all, a peaceful place of remembrance, not an object of dispute or even violence.

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