Tag Archives: David Cameron

 Money, mayhem and murder: Syria and a week of ‘progress’

‘…the anguish of each belongs to us all…’ Primo Levi, The Girl of Pompeii             ‘We need a no-fly zone. We need it to survive… People are thinking about managing the conflict, not ending it.’ Marcelle Shehwaro, Kesh Malek (Aleppo-based NGO) The first week of February 2016 may turn out to have been the most important for Syria since the start of the state’s civil war in March 2011. Sadly, … Continue reading

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Routine Atrocity: Death at sea, in Syria, Libya and beyond…

The song Nature Boy by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds begins with the protagonist watching the news and seeing: ‘…ordinary slaughter, I saw some routine atrocity’. The point is reasonably clear – that faced with continual exposure to the horrendous, even the worst things we could possibly imagine become somehow run-of-the mill, or commonplace. I only mention it because in a conversation with my partner yesterday I almost – though not quite – answered … Continue reading

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Eternal warfare: the Syrian campaign nobody wants

To be honest, I’m not really entirely sure why I am writing this. It’s not to insult/castigate/howl at our political class. Though it’s tempting, and I engaged in a bit of it last night when the Commons vote on Syria was announced, it would do little good, now.

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Notes, Two. Miri

You meet Miri in a tea-shop (in fact, a tent, just as every other ‘location’ at the Jungle is a tent: the restaurants, the medical centre, the women’s centre, the homes, the mosque and the church – all are tents, nothing more). The tea is good, though a cardomam seed within it worries him momentarily.

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Notes 3. The Jungle, Calais: Refugees, and how the UK government could help itself

Not every story you hear from refugees is one of heroism, triumph over adversity, or harrowing despicable mistreatment suffered and overcome to reach a destination.

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The United Nations: Syria, and the urgent need for change

I began the week with a public talk I gave about Libya and the wider international refugee crisis, in part to publicise my book, The Toss of a Coin: voices from a modern crisis.

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Theresa, and the even uglier face of little England

“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14(1)

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Stepping Back – Part 2

……..The following morning (Thursday 3rd September) I was interviewed on Sky TV. It’s a slightly strange experience being interviewed in a different studio from the one the hosts are in because – though you are expected to keep your eyes on a camera in front of you, the screen and speakers through which you can see and hear what is going on are slightly beyond your left foot.

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Stepping Back – Part 1

On Wednesday afternoon (2 September), as I travelled across London to an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, I looked across the tube carriage and read the headline on the afternoon’s Evening Standard: ‘Migrant Crisis:’ it read. ’13 Hour Eurostar Ordeal’. Setting aside the newspaper’s choice of the word ‘migrant’, ahead of the less inflammatory – and less incorrect – ‘refugee’

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Enough!

This piece was inspired by my genuine outrage – which I still feel, extremely strongly – at the firing of stun grenades by police at innocent men, women and children on the Macedonian border last Saturday (22 August). Since I completed it on Tuesday 25, seventy-one people have been found dead in the back of a lorry travelling through Austria, and yesterday (Thursday 27) around 450 people drowned in the Mediterranean when the boats they … Continue reading

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