My old Mum's habit, world peace, an end to crime, etc.
My old Mum is hanging out at present, and it’s not fun times for anybody. The doctor has said that her new knee is working fine, and so he’s taken her off the morphine patches. If she could bend her knees, she’d be huddled in the corner, sweating, rocking to and fro, and grasping them.
My old Mum is just one of millions of people who are suffering from opiate withdrawal world wide. The limited legal supplies of opiates come to Western Europe and the States, and not to the places where people are in the most pain. It is 4000 % more expensive to buy morphine for pain relief in Lima than it is to buy illegal opium from the farm gate in Afghanistan. The glut of illegal opium poppy production in Afghanistan since the start of the war is probably being stockpiled, since supply currently outstrips heroin demand by about 2:1. Researching for the ‘Longest Crawl’, I learned that during periods of prohibition, consumption goes up, and that during times of tolerance, drug use levels off. I also learned that drugs screw up the heads of those who attempt to legislate against them just as much as they do those of users.
Meanwhile, British soldiers are fighting the Third Opium War. Our masters are spending our troops on two fronts; ‘Terror’ and ‘Drugs’. In Afghanistan, these fronts cross. We try, and fail, to destroy the poppy trade, and wonder that the main poppy growing area is up in arms. If someone declared lamb illegal, and soldiers came to Radnorshire to eradicate sheep and get us to grow watermalons instead, we’d fight. Not me personally, obviously. I’d make the tea, though.
It has seemed to me for years that the obvious thing to do would be to buy the poppies from the farmers. Just buy them, and bring our girls and boys home; and keep them west of Suez for good and all. This policy has also seemed obvious to those hippies I’ve talked to about the idea in The Dukes. Last weekend, one of the hippies I was talking to about the idea told me that his nephew has just come back from Afghanistan, and that all the lads he knows in the Army think that it is only buying the poppies from the farmers that makes any sense.
This old hippy, after talking to that old hippy, came home and had a look at the Wonderful World of Web, and discovered the joy-making Poppy For Medicine campaign. The idea is simple; you give the farmers the equipment to make morphine from their poppy crops, and then buy the morphine at almost twice the black market price. Unlike the shit I talk with my mates in the pub, this is a beautifully thought out project; a policy of peace, just waiting to be grabbed by a party with a little political courage.
Apparently, the Taliban make ‘hundreds of millions of dollars a year’ from the black market trade in opium. We spend that in an afternoon. Just fucking buy it. We could do it today.
All farmers should have the right to grow on their own land what they judge to be the most economically viable crop, and to recieve the best price for it. In Afghanistan, that crop happens to be Papaver somniferum.
So I’ve done something enormously C21, and started a Facebook group, called Poppies For Peace. We also serve who only sit and surf. This is the blurb I’ve put up on the site…
‘Poppies for Peace thinks that we should remember what it means when we wear our poppies to commemorate the death of British servicemen and women. We are still fighting opium wars, and still killing our soldiers and airmen in the futile ‘War Against Drugs.’
This year, when you wear your poppy, please take a moment to write to your local newspaper and your MP, asking for their support for the Poppies For Medicine programme.’
One possible drawback of this madcap scheme to pay Afghan farmers a fair price for their crops instead of bombing their weddings is that the black market price could be driven higher over time. So the next bit of a sane heroin policy would be to manage demand by making smack available on prescription. But that, my loves, is another story.