Though I doubt Angry Anderson would be happy to have me as a fan. Back in year 9, I was a bit of a jihadist. It was 1984, the year that was the name of a famous novel written by a British foreign fighter named Eric Blair. I found the novel boring, but my year 9 English class all adored Angry Anderson’s passionate lyrics. That year the band he fronted, Rose Tattoo, released their Southern Stars album. The first single was an extraordinary anthem for freedom entitled I Wish.
Anderson sings of the struggles of the Catholics of Northern Ireland and the Solidarity Movement of Poland. During the guitar solo, the video clip shows images of freedom fighters past and present — Gandhi, Khomeini and some priest I am not familiar with. Then the following inspirational words:
I wish I was a hero
Fighting for the rights of man
I wish I was a tribesman
In the hills of AfghanistanAfghan tribesmen? Fighting in Afghanistan? In 1984? Who were they? Who were they fighting?
They were, of course, the Afghan jihadis fighting the Soviet Union. And they weren’t fighting alone; Saudi Arabia and the United States were supplying them with advanced weaponry. If you don’t believe me, ask Charlie Wilson, who helped arrange it all. Lots of Arab volunteers were fighting with the Afghans as well. If you don’t believe me, ask Osama bin Laden. He was organising their kit, accommodation, recruitment, medical treatment, etc.
OK, it’s too late to ask Charlie and Osama, as they are deceased. Still, you can ask Tom Hanks if you like.
Angry Anderson’s wish became my wish. Like Anderson, I wanted to be a hero fighting for the rights of men, rights being trampled on by the Soviet communist empire. I wanted to fight in a war in which global Islamism and the global Western right were together on the same side, just as they continue to be, on the ground, across much of the so-called “Muslim world”.
Good on Angry Anderson for making jihad such a fashionable topic for this hard-rocking Anglican-school boy. The people he praised, those he wanted to be were fighting for freedom, for liberty, for the West and for Islam.
Yes, a rather strange form of Islam. An Islam that many Muslim theologians at the time found rather difficult to understand, let alone swallow. But I guess if Ronald Reagan is leading the jihad, it must be good.
So as Angry Anderson accepts his endorsement to run on the anti-Islam Australian Liberty Alliance platform, I hope he recalls with fondness the days when he was singing his jihad anthem.
First published in Crikey on 10 May 2016.