‘Is that about terrorism?’, asked the lady that examined my onboard luggage. ‘Humm, well, it contains mentions of that, but it’s about your former ambassador to Uzbekistan and more about diplomacy’, I replied politely. ‘Does it have al-Qaida in it?’ I looked a bit confused. ‘What?’ – ‘Well, I have to check this with my manager, the rest of your stuff is fine, though.’
The manager then came after a minute or two. ‘Hello Sir, can you tell me about this book?’ ‘Sure, it is about Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.’ ‘Where, if I may ask, did you buy this book?’ – ‘Well, it is available at any Waterstones here in Britain. I just bought my copy in the Angel branch yesterday.’
‘I am afraid you cannot take this onboard, Sir.’ You must be kidding me. I just spent 20 pounds on a book that, despite arousing some controversy in the UK, should not be banned onboard a flight to Germany. I understand that the terror plot (which coincidentally seems to have an Uzbek dimension) makes for some overwrought nerves.
But to ban a book widely available in book stores in the UK is just a joke. Now, cash-strapped, I have to wait for the paperback edition to be published. Already late for the flight and raging in front of the calm airport security manager, I must have overheard that they can – in exceptional cases – post confiscated material to a UK address. I recalled that onboard the plane’