WORLD – From Afghanistan to Colombia, armed throngs across war-ravaged sections of the world paused to remember Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47, which scores of militants will carry into battle as soon as remembrances for the Russian industrialist conclude.
“We owe a lot to Kalashnikov,” said Nigerian Islamic militant Igbo Okoye, toting one of Kalashnikov’s creations. “Without him, our plan to overthrow our decadent pro-Western government might be little more than a pipe dream.”
Mikhail Kalashnikov died in Izhevsk, Russia on Monday at age 94 after a long illness. Kalashnikov invented the most popular assault rifle in history, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, intended for use by the Soviet Union, in 1949. Over 100 million have been produced and are still used widely today around the world. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced orders for an upgraded version of the AK-47.
Loved for its durability and deadly accuracy, the AK-47 became synonymous with armed conflicts throughout the last half of the 20th Century. It even appears on the flag of Mozambique in acknowledgement of the fact that the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) would likely never have taken power without a large supply of AKs.
In his life, Kalashnikov became a revered figure across the political spectrum for his invention. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, government forces and members of the Lord’s Resistance Army agreed to a 48-hour truce in honor of the man whose work has sustained both belligerents over the last quarter-century.
“Were it not for Mr. Kalashnikov, I don’t know how I could have carried on with my campaign of terror in Syria, before or after the start of the war,” a statement from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad read. “While chemical weapons may attract the biggest spotlight in my ongoing attempts to crush resistance to my rule, the AK-47 is, without a doubt, the backbone of my presidency.”
All over the world, regular and irregular soldiers offered praise for Kalashnikov’s weapon.
“Is that his name? He’s a legend,” said a Chicago gang member who identified himself only as Skeetbone. “The AK makes capping cats a cinch from long range, close range, whatever.”
“Much respect, Kalashnikov,” Skeetbone concluded.
A number of international parties involved in conflicts both large and small have planned temporary ceasefires in order to bring respite to bloodsoaked battlefields in a demonstration of peace that not even the death of Nelson Mandela could achieve. If successful, Detroit could witness its second days-long span of nonviolence since November.