While 24 staff and dependants linked to his pet rescue centre in Kabul have been left to rot on the ground, Farthing took off with 94 dogs, 74 cats and a whole lot of love from a large section of the British public that views him as some sort of stiff-upper-lipped WWII hero escaping from Colditz.
Up to 150 British citizens remain stuck in the country, while more than 1,000 eligible Afghans, including those who worked for the British government, may now have become targets for a vengeful Taliban. As the new regime now has access to an untold level of intel, thanks to US and UK military and diplomatic staff hightailing it – leaving behind classified information on USB sticks and inside files and documents – with the allied evacuation over it’s only a matter of time before most, if not all of these poor souls are hunted down by the Taliban, captured and summarily executed in the street.
Patently, none of this living nightmare is on Farthing. He seems like a thoroughly decent bloke; and his military service is without question. Yes, he threatened to “destroy” a special adviser to the UK’s defence secretary, Ben Wallace; and he stands accused of bogarting the time, effort and resources of several officials and service personnel on the ground who had far more important things to do than deal with a pet rescue operation. But history will judge the US, the UK, Bush, Blair, Biden, et al for this debacle, which, in the last 20 years, once Iraq is factored in (remember that place?) has cost trillions of dollars in war expenditure, but more importantly, has left tens of thousands of people dead.
An estimated 50,000 Afghan civilians, 70,000 Afghan soldiers and police, have been killed in the conflict, along with 2,461 US military personnel and civilians and 457 members of the UK armed forces. Other countries will have their own death tolls to account for, but these numbers alone, these human casualties are a savage indictment on war, on revenge, on terrorism, on despotism, and, it must be said, the soft-headed, sentimental and thoroughly disgusting optics of putting animal life on par with human life – something Farthing’s cultlike following of “animal lovers” has done to the detriment of Britain’s standing in the world.
Farthing’s acolytes have banged on incessantly about his flock being shepherded away from danger on a “privately-funded” chartered jet, with the animals being in the hold and thus not taking up valuable seating that could’ve been given to desperate refugees. But Farthing has admitted that he was the only passenger on the flight. Furthermore, unless he’d built his own runway, control tower, had a mercenary army on the ground and the equivalent in the air providing safe passage out of the country, Farthing’s escape was facilitated by years of investment in infrastructure, technology, equipment and the largesse of American taxpayers, along with a trail of bodies, yet the empty-headed Brits babbling on about liberating cats and dogs fail to acknowledge any of this. Instead, they resort to the sort of fawning, sentimental and, it pains me to say, emotional retardation surrounding animals that makes one wonder about the mental state of many of my countryfolk.
Not that putting animals over humans is anything new in Britain. While we have a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children we have a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Go figure.
Earlier this week, as had been the case with Harding’s folly, the story of Geronimo the alpaca occupied much media real estate, such was the public opprobrium levelled at the British government for wanting shut of an animal infected with tuberculosis following FOUR YEARS of court battles, protests and celebrity interventions. Finally, the state got its wish, and Geronimo made his last stand after being killed at a secret location following removal from his home at Shepherds Close Farm, south Gloucestershire by four vets from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) backed up by a phalanx of police officers.
Whether it’s Farthing, Geronimo or my old friend and Daily Mail columnist, Liz Jones and her five dogs, two ponies, one race horse and 17 cats, the British patently are “tapped” when it comes to their animals. But anthropomorphizing these creatures isn’t just quirky or eccentric or a little bit silly – it’s disturbing; and, in the case of Afghanistan, dangerous. Having to watch, listen to and read about people you would otherwise think are sane put animals on the same mortal par as humans is ridiculous, especially as most of these hypocrites wouldn’t think twice about having a flutter on the Grand National, slip into a nice pair of leather shoes or feast on a big, fat, juicy steak over lunch. Show me a pet owner and I’ll show you an animal lover who puts the ‘nit(wit)’ in cognitive dissonance.
Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I even adopted a street dog from an animal shelter in the Caribbean, a part of the world where people are people and animals are afraid. But I’m under no illusions, or delusions, about little ‘Freckles.’ While she’s part of the family, she’s not actual family.
Afghanistan is home to several endangered species such as the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, Siberian musk deer, markhor, urial, and the Asiatic black bear; but Farthing chose to save common or garden cats and dogs. Clearly, not even the country’s wildlife, let alone people, is of any real interest to those misanthropic Brits who speak openly about their contempt for human life while enjoying near-bestial relationships with their pets. For Farthing, this zoophilia is a boon. The cultural cache and indeed the cash value of owning one of his emancipated Afghan mutts will soon be reckoned once we get the inevitable “celebrity auction” where monied animal lovers will be able to buy their “piece of history.” I just wonder how many of the winners will be vegans?
Farthing will no doubt raise lots of money for charity. Brits have a habit of turning a blind eye to inconvenient truths about people, just as long as they’re a good tin rattler. And he’s bound to wind up on I’m a Celeb, land a six-figure book deal, probably get his own reality TV show and garner all the attention he no doubt craves. In return, those infantile Brits who lost their shit over this circus have made the nation look foolish, silly and small-minded. The optics of this farce are unbelievable. We should be ashamed of ourselves for promoting such nonsense. But if the last 20 years of Afghanistan’s history is anything to go by, I doubt we will.
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