An Old Fool in Africa 48

I have many friends in Ghana, but when a stay becomes extended like this one I miss Nadira, Jamie, Emily and Cameron dreadfully.

When I was about 8 years old and living in a bungalow at Beeston Regis with my mum and brothers and sister, we had one of the very few christmasses in my early childhood when my father was at home. We had a black and white TV and the big BBC film on Christmas Eve was “Calamity Jane” with Doris Day. My parents and especially grandparents were quite excited about this and had been talking about it all day.

We had eaten our tea, the children sat on the floor with our Corona pop and the adults sat behind with their Guinness or Mackeson, sherry or whisky as we focussed on the small television.

We had placed pillowcases around the christmas tree. I decided that I was so excited about Christmas that I wanted to go to bed early so it would come quickly. I thought as my dad was home I would get a really good present (I did. I got a bike. It wasn’t new, but my grandad got a tin of silver spray paint from Woolworths and sprayed it. I thought it looked new. I couldn’t touch the pedals at the bottom of their rotation. I rode that bike until my knees scarcely unbent as the pedals turned).

I left the party, though everyone told me it was a really good film. Of course, I didn’t sleep. I lay in my bunk bed staring out at the stars and listening to all the songs from Calamity Jane through the wall, with various family members singing along.

I never did see Calamity Jane, until last night when it came on satellite TV in Accra. Then, in the dark of an African night, in a small house alone in a big compound, through the one lit window a stupid old white man sat, with tears streaming down his face, sobbing out loud for all that was lost, for every hurtful word he had said to those who were gone, and for all the good he had not done.

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48 thoughts on “An Old Fool in Africa

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  • anno

    Made-up stories, music and pictures, the main components of film are all forbidden in Islam. The purpose of film is to create a soap world which allows the majority of the Western world to forget about the violence it is perpetrating in the real world.

    I was one of those softies who cried at 101 Dalmations, bonded with my children and changed their nappies before being emasculated by feminism of the Jane Peters variety. These women are themselves predatory sexual abusers and master liars. My ex. has even conned the Church of England to put her on their pay-roll.

  • Frazer

    Jane, suggest you stop speed reading and actually start reading the chapters..clearly you are a new wave tree hugger with a bent to the gay greenpeace neo new labour wing. I actually feel sorry for you !

  • Jon

    @Jane Peters – would love to know what course your are on too, mainly as it is quite exciting that Craig’s work is a set text! But it would also be instructive to know to see why you are making such bold, and perhaps propagandistic, statements.

    @Frazer – you feel sorry for environmentalists, Greenpeace members and gay rights activists – why? Broadly, I’d say they were all doing some good.

  • Arsalan goldberg

    Jane, I can understand the not liking Craig bit.

    I’m sure quite a few people don’t like him. And that is your right. But why would you spoil it all by praising Qullam?

    Qullam are not about creating community cohesion. They are about milking the government for money. To do so they create strife, to use it as a means to get more money.

    What have they done to unite people?

    Nothing, all they do is rant about how bad Muslims are, and how the government should give them more money so they can do some more ranting about how bad Muslims are.

    Jane, is your real name Ed by any chance?

  • Frazer


    Greenpeace gets £250 a year from me, though these days I am thinking about bunging my dosh towards Sea Shepherd !

  • Stuart


    Craig isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

    Coming from someone who knows Craig and experienced much of the ups and downs with him I can say categorically that Craig has never intentionally hurt anyone in his life. His marriage breakdown was tragic and public but as is always in tragedy it takes two sides to cause a divorce. Craig has struggled to support his family throughout and continues now. Both Jamie and Emily love him unconditionally. The over exaggerated affairs that have come out Craig has never denied. And Craig was often more the exploited than the exploiter.

    As many people have said Jane, read his book properly not skim it and read his other book set in Africa. Drop any agenda you may have and balance this against any perceived bad he has done. Most geniuses have flaws it comes with the territory.

  • technicolour

    frazer, as a bit of “a new wave tree hugger with a bent to the gay greenpeace neo new labour wing” myself (apart from the new labour bit) I think most of us are better than this; and certainly don’t need your pity. ‘Jane Peters’, who sounds more like Mary Whitehouse, might, I suppose.

    Isn’t it libellous to suggest that someone has had sexual relations with underage girls, by the way? Very odd post of hers, that.

  • marc

    Jane- I’m sure you have a few skeletons in your closet too.

    Why bother reading the site if we’re all lunatics? What does that make you?

    Sexist or Racist jokes merely cause ‘offence’. War kills people. Torture is horrific.

    Up yours!

    I guess someone like yourself would like a pop at my grammar and spelling too?

    In my experience most of the awfull people in the world hide behind politically correct phrases, they are often pedantic.. and if you really get to the route of who they are.. well… you’ll probably find a Tony/Cherie Blair type… Again. Up Yours!

  • Walter Wall

    Y’see Craig, this is why people all round the world read your blog and follow you in the press etc. You’re an ordinary Joe like the rest of us….with feelings, failings and frailties.

    Keep it up Craig

  • Rob

    Jane Peters:

    “This website is .. populated by nutballs racists fanatics and conspiracy theorists .. ”

    You are calling me a nutball, racist fanatic and a conspiracy theorist.

    I do believe I could sue you for libel.

  • technicolour

    Rob, no, you could be the one sane person in the barrel. Wales is populated by the Welsh; if I move there it doesn’t change that!

  • Jives

    It’s natural Craig.

    Tears are a sign of strength,not weakness.Those that repress tears are the sort of cold-eyed reptiles and sociopaths that you have been,so strongly,railing against for years.

    Chin up dear chap!

  • Dick the Prick

    You sentimental old fart. Your story reminds me of the time I watched ‘Debbie does Dallas’, ah those sweet imaginings of the absence of things not done!

  • Jon

    @Frazer – pleased to hear you are not against environmentalism, but it’s a bit strange then that you would use Greenpeace as a perjorative! 😉

  • arsalan goldberg

    Craig Murray likes to eat Curray

    And sausages made from meat Slurry

    He is always in a Hurray

    I’m not sure if his ever been to Surray?

    But has been to Scotland that has a place called Urray!

    I just made that up.

  • Anonymous

    I think you should stop feeling sorry for yourself. You did this to yourself. Constant cheating on people you love and being too busy to call your own children on a regular basis would make me feel extremely sad indeed. Instead of blogging to the world about your mistakes why don’t you pick up a phone or write an email to the ones that really matter. I am sure your family would love to hear from you.

  • dreoilin

    “I am sure your family would love to hear from you.”

    —anon, at 9:38 PM

    What makes you think they haven’t?

    I wonder if the wondrous Jane has arrived back and is now posting anonymously. I also wonder if she speed-read part of Murder in Samarkand by ignoring full stops and capital letters as she does in her own writing. That leads me to wonder what course she’s on. I do hope it’s not journalism. I had the misfortune to read this on an Irish TV Channel website today: “It is with great sadness that Coronation Street actress Maggie Jones yesterday passed away aged 75.”

    Jane, you can call me a racist fanatical conspiracy theorist or even a homophobe or a sycophant, but don’t call me a nutball. That’s going too far, y’hear?

  • Refugee from Uzbekistan

    Dear Mr Murray,

    Your brother is right; if it were not you some people including me would not have been here today. You did a lot of good in Uzbekistan and elsewhere. Unfortunately, people like you are very rare these days but those who have been honoured to know you will remember you forever.

    I wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.

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