Daily Archives: March 31, 2011


At 16.00 Today I Was

Organising my air ticket back to London, via Turkey. Although I live in the UK, it is much cheaper to buy tickets as returns from the Ghanaian end. But because of the prevalence of fraud, you can’t buy a ticket over the internet starting from West Africa. So my long suffering Ghanaian PA has had a complex task working out from the airlines the best way to fly Accra/Izmir/London/Accra.

The answer turns out to be Lufthansa, and Accra/Frankfurt/Munich/Izmir/Munich/London/Accra, all of which in business class comes to a surprisingly cheap US $3,560. I know this arouses sceptical smiles, but I have to fly business class because of my episode of pulmonary emboli. The doctors say that I should in fact fly business class and with an oxygen mask, but it’s not a good look.

My itinerary in Turkey is being organised by IHH, the Turkish charity that sent the Mavi Marmara. I am donatiing all my royalties from the Turkish language edition of Murder in Samarkand to IHH. I am not receiving any payment at all for this lecture tour to Turkey and am paying my own travel expenses, staying with kind Turkish friends. I give this detail because, if I am going to do this 16.00 posting, I think you need to know how my life works to put it in context.

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Murder in Samarkand Nominated

If you scroll down, down, down on this link, far, far past Chris Evans and Nick Ferrari, you will see that serious radio still does exist, and that Murder in Samarkand, by David Hare, adapted from my memoir, has just been nominated for best radio drama at the Sony Radio Awards. I do hope it wins – the BBC may have to dust it down and make it available somewhere other than on this website.

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Who Planted The Jerusalem Bomb?

In these days of obsession with Breaking News, it is worth returning to a story sometimes to see what happened to it. The bomb in Jerusalem 8 days ago which killed a British lady at a bus stop is a good example. The Israeli government has announced – on no discernible evidence, that the bomb was the work of Palestinian extremists. The western media has accepted that narrative with no questioning that I can find. But was it?

News media have really given us nothing new since the day. The main development is that it has become plain that the bomb was not placed in a bin, but left in a bag at a busy bus stop. Not only is this not a known Palestinian modus operandi –

“It was nothing like the big suicide bombings of the past decade,” said one security official on the scene. “A small bomb, weighing less than two kilograms was left behind in a bag. There are no hallmarks here of the terror networks we faced then.”

But I should have thought it was a high risk operation for a Palestinian who was not a sucicde bomber to pull off. Anyone who has lived in London this last few years knows exactly how young Muslims with bags on the underground must feel. I expect that is worse on Jerusalem buses. And if this were a Palestinian terrorist, presumably they chose a bus stop frequented by Jewish people not by Palestinian people, in other words where a Palestinian would look conspicuous, and certainly might have difficulty in casually abandoning a bag at a bus stop?

Of course this might have been a Palestinian individual or group branching out with a different form of attack. But there is no reason to believe that it has to be that. It might have a motive unrelated to the Palestinian conflict at all, by some lone nutter. Or if it is related to Israel/Palestine, it does not follow that it was the Palestinians. There are plenty of extremist Jewish groups who must be very alarmed at the change of events in the Middle East, at the loss of their closest regional ally Mubarak, at the end of the nonsensical “only democracy in the Middle East” propaganda, at the sudden discovery by Western media that Arabs are human too. The mind of any terrorist is by definition twisted. It cannot be said to be impossible that this was an action perpetrated by extreme zionists anxious to reclaim world sympathy. There were Jewish victims in the King David Hotel too. The violent nutters are not all on one side.

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