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Military: World Book Day…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

It’s World Book Day. 

And here to ‘celebrate’ that, is an extract from something I have been working on for about a year now. It’s a novel about a Multiple – a section of infantry – in Afghanistan. It’s fiction. Not real. I need to make that clear. 

Anyway, I have a first draft off the book finished and I am starting work on a second, revised draft. It’s taking me a while as I have never written fiction, or put a book together before so I am sort of all over the place. But anyway, here is a stand alone piece that you can have a read of. And yes, I know there are a lot of abbreviations and jargon in the piece, but it’s part of a greater work and the terms are all explained elsewhere. I don’t think the language takes away from the content or the readability.

So, let me know what you think. After all, I’d kind of like all you good people to be the people who’d be buying a published novel of my work…

It had been a long couple of days for the Multiple. The final exercise had been wet and cold, with snow still on the ground that melted...

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Military: The Colour of the Poppy Doesn’t Matter, But What We Remember Does…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

It’s that time of year again. When we remember. Remember the fallen, remember the dead.  Remember those who have given their lives in wars throughout the last 100 years or so, in service of us, those left behind to have a free, decent and peaceful life 

And as part of this remembrance we buy and wear poppies.  And as with everything today, this has become a political act.  We buy red poppies, we wear white poppies, purple poppies, even black poppies. Remembering according to our politics, remembering according to our beliefs.  

I am not going to get in to the outrage caused and felt by the colour of the poppy. Christ, there is room in the garden for poppies of all colours – as long as we are remembering that people died and were killed and fought and suffered for us to have the privilege – the honour – to chose the colour of our poppy. By exercising the choose to wear what the hell we want – or even NOT to wear – we are honouring those men and women.  They died so that we...

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Military: From Litter to Daniel Pelka to Syria, are we in danger of becoming a ‘walk-on-by’ Society…?

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

I spent 25 years in the military. The abiding principle of military service is that service itself. Service before self. Your mate, your buddy, your team, your unit, your organisation, your nation, your people. It is all about thinking about how you can help the person next to you – because in doing so, you help the next level up that chain all the way up to helping the whole country; doing the bidding of the nation through the government.

And as a serviceman – you just do it. It becomes second nature. You look after your buddy. Because if you look after them, they will be able to look after you. When I arrived in Afghanistan, I was the only RAF man in a Check Point of 40 Paras. I expected that life was going to be tough, that I would be ignored and left alone. Not at all, they welcomed me, checked my kit, organised my pack and what I carried so that my kit carried matched the reality of the ground and the situation I was in. The could have...

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Military: What kind of future do we want for ourselves…?

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

We are at the fork in the road that leads to our future. If we go down one fork, then the future is dark, cloudy and dangerous. It’s a future where dodgy regimes all over the world can get their chemistry sets out, and knock up some poison gas and use it however they want, on whomsoever they want. The other fork is one where despite the fact that bad people will do bad things – there are certain lines that are never allowed to be crossed.

‘If you tolerate this, then your children will be next…’

We are facing a future where it is either OK to use chemical weapons – or it’s not. And every rational, decent and normal person in the world really knows the answer to that dilemma. It’s not ok to use chemical weapons. Ever. It’s not ok to kill people – your own people or other countries people – but on a scale of ‘not right’ then gas is about as evil as you can get. At all stages we should have been working for a way for the civil war in Syria to have been stopped. It is not ok for people to die, by any means....

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Military: Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

Apparently, you need a new car. A bigger house. A new TV. A sofa. A big kitchen, with shiny metal appliances. A wifi enabled music streaming device that brings you all the music the world has ever produced direct to your ears. You need to eat out, you need to eat in. You need to visit friends. You need to stay at home. You need to have an ethically sourced table made from trees that wanted to be in your house that you never, ever, put your feet on. You need to stop smoking, you need to exercise, you need to go away on holiday to sun drenched beaches that enrich your life with wonder and awe. You need to visit the country and relax in the gentle surroundings of a calm way of life that reminds us of what life once was. You need to have a job earning £50k a year, you need to be busy, you need to be successful.

What a load of bollocks.

I don’t want to preach.  I don’t want to tell you what to do.  I just want to tell you something that I have figured out.  

I have...

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Military: Larkin was right…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

In the house of the depressives, the happy child is king. Or queen. Or something. It’s a crap misquote, but it’s sadly true. When the grown-ups are both under the cosh of depression and pain and hurt, the ruler of the house is the child who is the happy one. Oblivious to the pain going on inside the adult’s minds, unaware of the fact that what is going on around it ISN’T normal – hell if that’s all you’ve ever known…the madness and the crying and the arguing and the shouts and the over-reaction IS normal.

I feel sorry for my youngest daughter. Imagine growing up in a house where both your parents have depression. What message are we sending to her? What lessons are we teaching her, just ass her brain is soaking up all the messages we are giving out, consciously and subconsciously? When she is learning what and how to be herself and how to develop how she reacts and interacts with people the people who she is learning off are just the ones who shouldn’t be listening too.

And I see her reaction to things we say. I see that she is...

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Military: A million miles away…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

Two years ago, not far from today’s date, this photograph was taken.

Image

I posted it this morning over on Twitter, with the caption ‘This feels like it was a million years ago and a million miles away…’ And it does. At times I look at pictures like this one and don’t even think that it is me. It is a million miles away from where I am right now; both in terms of physical location, and state of mind…

For me it sums up my tour in Afghanistan. In the picture I am hot, sweaty; covered from head to foot in protective gear; helmet, glasses, body armour, blast pants, gloves, boots… carrying my rifle, ammunition, equipment, food, water. I had just completed a patrol from one Check Point to another and we had just come out of a field of corn. Hence my less than happy expression – tired, tired beyond belief. Wondering what the hell I am doing there, why is someone snapping my picture, why had I chosen to come out ‘here’ and do this?

The cornfields out there are a little bit of hell on earth. Sown randomly by hand, they are not the lines and...

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Military: Some good days, some bad days…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

Days matter. Monday everyone is down and miserable the weekend has finished and the long week ahead – the drudgery of work stretches out before us, Friday the world is happy and the promise of the weekend is there tempting us on into it.

Some days we are glad to be alive; some days we dread.  But when you have depression, you face day after day of gloom and misery. And then you move on.  You get your meds sorted and maybe you get therapy or treatment of some sort and you start the long road to recovery.  

This is where I am at the moment.  It’s been a while since I have written about my depression, but today I feel the need to.  I have suffered from it for over a year now.  Been on the tablets for certainly a year and have had CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) and Talking Therapy and all sorts…and I certainly feel that I am on the road to recovery.

I am getting back to being more one with myself. More relaxed with myself – on myself.  I am learning to let go a bit more, be a bit less uptight and be a bit more easy...

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Military: Talking to the enemy doesn’t betray the dead. It honours them….

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

On the day that the Afghan government said it had taken over responsibility for combat operations across the whole of the country and after 12 years of invasion, war, occupation and counter-insurgency the Americans announced that they are to start diplomatic talks with the Taliban.  

This is good news.  Soldiers may fight wars, but it is politicians who not only start them, the politicians getting around a table and talking also finish them.  In a dirty and nasty war which has cost over 35,000 people’s lives, the only real way to come out with a solution to the annual cycle of fighting is to discuss it.  Talk about it.  Consider the other side and compromise.

This is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of strength.  It is only through talking that the problems that run so deep in that country can be solved.  It is a sign that it is time to move on from drastic and inflammatory rhetoric where you are either ‘for us or against us’.  It’s time to move away from ‘victory’....

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Military: Detached…

Written by RSS Poster Rafairman's Blog

I have been out of the military for just under three months, although I have lived away from the military life for about 6 months.  And as I have said several time I have not really missed military life.  The people, now there’s another thing… but the life itself…not really.

I am enjoying my part time work, and enjoying my life in the countryside and even more enjoying village life, with all that I need – the small shop and post office and the pub, and my daughter, Lily, has her school just a few hundred yards down the road.

But I don’t miss the military life.  Don’t miss living behind the wire, don’t miss the community of other people who work in the same place as you, living in the same place as you, doing the same things as you.

Well, I thought I didn’t miss it.

But the other day as part of one of my jobs, I drove past RAF Cosford, where I once lived and worked as part of my posting as an instructor.

And that afternoon I felt a sudden pang of pain.  The fence at the edge of the camp was no different from when I was on the other side of it,...

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Latest Rafairman\'s Blog Stories

World Book Day…
The Colour of the Poppy Doesn’t Matter, But What We Remember Does…
From Litter to Daniel Pelka to Syria, are we in danger of becoming a ‘walk-on-by’ Society…?
What kind of future do we want for ourselves…?
Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers…

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