dijous, 4 de desembre de 2008

Black Watch

"Like any military unit, the Black Watch has to carve out its own identity. It has to see itself and its members as special. It has several tactics for achieving this. Then there's the uniforms: the kilts, and the red hackle, awarded to the Black Watch by George III in 1796, which they wear on their Tam O'Shanters. There are the Pipes and Drums, who played at John F Kennedy's funeral and tour the world.

There is a cachet to be had from serving in the Black Watch, the oldest Highland regiment. They call it the "Golden Thread": the connection that runs through the history of the regiment since its formation. Even today, in our supposedly fractured society, the regiment exists on a different plane. In Iraq, there were lads serving alongside their fathers. There were groups of friends from even the smallest communities: four from the former fishing village of St Monans; seven from the former mining village of High Valleyfield; dozens from Dundee and Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Perth. The army does best in those areas of the country the Ministry of Defence describes as having "settled communities". The Army does not recruit well in London or any other big city; fighting units tend to be more at home with homogeneity than with metropolitanism or multiculturalism.

When the clans of Scotland used to fight, they would have people who stood in front of the soldiers and recited the names of their ancestors. In the end, our soldiers don't fight for Britain or for the government or for Scotland. They fight for the regiment. Their company. Their platoon. And for their mates."

(Black Watch, scottish theatre play. Until December 21st at the St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn-New York)

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