Thursday, 14 June 2007

My War Gone by, I Miss it So

I was impressed and compelled reading Anthony Loyd’s “My War Gone By, I Miss it So” recently.

It is a personal and visceral account of the Bosnian and Chechen conflicts and addiction. Loyd was driven to these warzones by his own inner demons and confronts the genesis of his horror tourism with admirable honesty and frankness.

As an account of the horror of war the book is excellent, as an exposition of the character of addiction it is equally good, as an examination of the vicarious thrills derived from conflict it is peerless, however as an analytical account of either war it is deeply flawed.

Loyd expresses a detestation of nationalism at several points in his book, but this sentiment is patchily applied. For an avowed opponent of nationalism he seems to harbour disturbing degrees of sympathy for separatist terror.

Whilst Serb irredentism may compare unfavourably with the vision of a multi-cultural, inclusive Bosnia, he pays scant regard to the gathering tide of Muslim nationalism which accompanied the conflict and he skates conveniently around confronting the issue of jihadi mujhideen, who are mentioned in his narrative a number of times.

Loyd’s picture of brutal Russian fire-power suppressing plucky Chechen fighters is grossly disingenuous. He glorifies bandit terrorists whose ambition was to set up a haven of criminality on Russia’s borders and provide a launching pad for Islamic attacks on the west. Whether any other power would have allowed their sovereign territory to secede in such a haphazard fashion isn’t addressed.

This is an enjoyable book, make no mistake about it. But it also a jaundiced account of two very complex conflicts.

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