Monday, December 23, 2013

The AK 47 assault rifle - symbol of "people's war"

Mikhail Kalashnikov has died at 94.  He was proud of his invention - the AK 47 assault rifle, according to C.J. Chivers in the Russian general's Times obituary.  During the Vietnam war American soldiers were said to prize the gun over their own M 16's which corroded and malfunctioned while the Kalashnikovs seemed always to fire.  That cemented the Kalashnikov's iconic status as the weapon of choice for guerrilla "national liberation fighters".  The U.S. was deplored for "carpet bombing" by B 52's from high in the sky.   The Kalashnikov was the equalizer, the symbol of "people's war" against colonialists and "neo-colonialists".  Women, Black Panthers, Vietnamese peasants, and guerrillas of every stripe were depicted with the symbol of the war of the weak against the great.

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