If you already weren’t a fan of the Taliban for their terror attacks, their despotic leaders, or their brutal assault on women’s rights, you’re not gonna like what they’ve done to the British symbol of remembrance.
The wearing of plastic red poppies in November is a long-held tradition in the United Kingdom, going probably as far back as when the first Tesco was founded. You might have seen them decorating your favourite football pundits, royals, and school headmasters, or on those charity rubber wristbands that gained popularity with the youth around 2009. The wearing of a poppy to remember the fallen soldiers of British combat is a tradition as old and storied as sending soldiers overseas to fall in British combat. It is such a dignified and esteemed way of showing your respect and patriotism that no one would dare desecrate it. No one, that is, except a terrorist!
Bridges have been burnt and battle lines have been drawn. On the one side, there is old fashioned common decency, wearing your poppy to honour those who died to end fascism once and for all. On the other, there are dirty, dishonourable, former-communist, woke terrorists, spitting in the face of Captain Tom. Also known as the Taliban. What’s the problem though? What could the Taliban have done to their poppies? Worn them on the wrong side of their jackets? Let them fall upside down? I bite my fist in anguish as I wince and tell you that it’s worse than that. They have been rampaging across the country destroying poppy farms, razing crops to the ground, and have banned cultivation of poppies throughout the entire country.
(N.B. — Poppy crops are almost entirely used in the production of opium, which made Afghanistan the global hub of heroin.)
There are tears falling down onto my keyboard as I type this. Not even a year after the Queen dies, and Taliban soldiers are already besmirching her memory and making a mockery of everything she stood for by wiping out these beautiful flowers. I’m just glad she’s not alive to witness these crimes against humanity being committed without remorse on the hallowed soils of a former British protectorate (It may not have been officially part of the British Empire but that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t still be weeping glorious tears). Aside from the spiritual damage it’s causing to the British psyche, this is bringing plenty of real life negative consequences to the world (if it’s possible to get more 'real life' than the proverbial kicking-in-the-balls of Princess Diana’s ghost that is poppy disrespect). For a start, this will cause a severe reduction in the volume of heroin getting imported into Scotland. This may seem like a good thing on the surface, but believe me, anyone who’s ever been sober in Dundee will agree that it’s not. Heroin is the lifeblood of Scotland, it’s a cultural pastime north of the border, 1 in every 100 Scots consider it their main hobby, and it’s responsible for the only significant art to come out of the country since Robert Burns. They have heroin on their morning oats and on their evening haggis. I recently took a trip up to Edinburgh, when the negative effects of this dearth of opiates was yet to kick in, but it was already clear that there were troubling times ahead. I saw at least four homeless people walking around with 'The end is nigh' sandwich boards hung over their bodies. At the time I assumed this was more experimental performance comedy (I was there for the fringe festival after all), but when I realised they were real hobos and not baristas who would soon leave to debut their improvised rap versions of Oscar Wilde plays in the evening, I knew something was up. I wish I had listened to them before it was too late rather than walking past to catch a showing of The Importance of Being Kanye West.
One peoples that weren’t distracted when all this was happening were the poppy farmers of Afghanistan themselves. It’s been remarked upon by many Western news outlets just how callous it is of the Taliban to exercise government overreach into the farming industry in such a way that disrupts the profits of the struggling agricultural labourers, clearly the big winners in the lucrative international drug trade. After all, it was only out of consideration for the livelihoods of the peasant class of Helmand Province that the US-backed regime hadn’t ceased heroin production in the region, as it could have done easily with the click of its fingers. And now look what’s happened, they’ve been forced to cultivate wheat crops instead! Wheat! Can you imagine such a thing? The Taliban have all but wiped out poppy cultivation in the area, going from 52% of the agricultural land to 0.4% and now there is so much arable land (if you’ll pardon the pun) going to waste. If anyone has some ideas for what to do with this land, please get in touch. My first thought was perhaps the locals could use it to erect a statue of Winston Churchill? That might go some way to making up for the crimes of their fellow countrymen. And it’s not like they haven’t got free time on their hands, their calendars must be cleared right up now that they’re not farming or overdosing on heroin.
And finally, the last unsung victim of this Taliban project is Mexico. As one of the largest remaining opium suppliers in the world, the burden of production will fall to Mexico to cover the shortfall from Afghanistan’s market exit. That’s right, Mexican heroin production line workers, your quotas have just doubled. Can you imagine what kind of evil regime would, in one fell swoop, take this glorious, profitable work from the Afghans and simultaneously place this horrible burden of the same thing on Mexico? Mexican farmers didn’t need this, they were perfectly content to take home a middling wage to their family, without the beautiful extra benefits that the Afghans needed. It’ll be a sad, sad Christmas day for all the workers in Guadalajara as they work double shifts to keep up with the all the extra demand for heroin around the holidays. And at the end of it, the steam whistle will sound, the exhausted proletariat will wipe the sweat from their brow, look down at the needle of heroin at their feet, and think 'Why not? It’s Christmas.' and before you know it the whole country is in an opioid addiction crisis, standards fall across the country, and the authentic Mexican piñatas that we Brits rely on become a thing of the past. Imagine what Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would say. Thanks a lot, Taliban. (That’s not what she would say, that’s what I’m saying (sarcastically)).