afghan boys

What I’m finding kinda eyebrow-raising about the way in which people are talking about Danny Pink in this regard is that he’s being reduced to “a black character who died” - as if that’s all that matters about him.

He was a very well-defined and realised character with a complete (and emotional) arc, he subverted a number of tropes around masculinity, and he ‘died’ because he gave up his chance to return from the Nethersphere in order to instead revive the young Afghan boy he accidentally killed during a military operation.

Let’s say that it happened the other way around and Danny chose to come back instead of the boy. What would the reaction to that be? Would that be better? Worse? And why?

Danny’s story was complete, and I really can’t see a way that he could’ve been integrated into Series 9′s arc - his death was, in part, a critical turn-of-the-screw event for Clara becoming more separate from her home life and throwing herself into being more of a ‘citizen of the universe’. But that wasn’t all Danny’s death was for, he wasn’t there just to serve Clara’s development because he had a full arc of his own throughout Series 8 that was almost entirely independent of the influence of other characters.

Even after his death, a significant amount of the following episode, Last Christmas, brings him back in the dream world and further deals with the emotional fallout of his sacrifice.

I totally get that this obviously doesn’t exist in a vacuum and there’s certainly valid criticism to be made, but it really rubs me the wrong way when everything about Danny (who is still very much one of my favourite characters) gets reduced down to “oh, he died, so Doctor Who is clearly a show that hates black people”.

He wasn’t just just discarded and forgotten.

His death wasn’t some cheap shocker for the purpose of trying to elevate the drama.

He was afforded the full emotional range and complexity of any main companion character. He saved the world and got to right a wrong that took away the life of a young boy, sacrificing his own chance to go back so the boy could return to his family and live the life that had been previously taken from him. That was what the ‘soldier’ arc was all about - self-sacrifice, to ensure the safety of those he promised to protect. Because the thing that defined Danny as a soldier was love.

It bothers me because this reductive articulation of Danny was uncomfortably prevalent throughout Series 8 where people just cast him off as “Mickey 2.0″ and called him bland and boring, which seems to be a bit of a trend in a lot of fanbases, and it’s why I am not liking the way in which he’s being talked about regarding the events of World Enough and Time.

There was more to Danny Pink than just his death. I’d like to see that acknowledged in more of the Discourse™ I’m seeing about last night’s episode…

4

Dreams do come true!

A young Afghan boy who became an internet sensation after being photographed in a homemade replica of Lionel Messi’s famous football strip has finally come face-to-face with his idol. In January this year, pictures emerged of five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi wearing a blue-and-white striped plastic bag to emulate the colours of the Argentinian team. On the back of the bag was scrawled the legend: “Messi 10”. The pictures went viral and, after Messi’s biggest fan was identified and tracked down to Afghanistan’s eastern Ghazni province, efforts were made to bring Murtaza and the Barcelona star together. Now Ahmad has come face-to-face with the fifth-time Ballon d'Or winner in a heartwarming meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Barcelona were in Qatar to play a friendly against Saudi Arabian Al Ahli on Tuesday evening. Ahmadi, who was given the honour of bringing the match ball out onto the pitch before the match, seized the opportunity to steal another impromptu meeting with his hero. After placing the ball on the centre circle Ahmadi ignores the referee’s attempts to escort him for the pitch before running over to Lionel Messi on the edge of the semi circle.

Luis Suarez broke into fits of laughter as a giggling Lionel Messi tried to point Ahmadi towards the stadium tunnel. Ahmadi’s once in a lifetime experience was finally cut short when the referee picked the six-year-old up and carried him off the pitch. The child and his family now live in  Quetta, Pakistan, after fleeing their home in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. 

“I’m very happy to have met my hero. It is a dream for me,” according to a statement released by the committee overseeing organisation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. “The image the world wanted to see,” tweeted Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organisers, who brought the pair together. “The six year old boy who dreamed of meeting his hero, Messi, finally comes true.”