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THE PLOT AGAINST THESE ISLANDS

One February night in ’74

the Army occupied Heathrow Airport.

The BBC’s Nine O’Clock news explained

the occupation was an exercise

in how to deal with a terrorist threat.

The new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson,

learned of the exercise from the TV,

recognised it as the dress rehearsal

of a coup against his premiership –

a coup that would have been sanctified

by an announcement from her Majesty,

an emergency government led by

her husband’s uncle,

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TOWARDS A DEFINITION

Anti-Semitism is the demagogue’s

canard,  the resort of the populist,

the calculating racist’s dog whistle,

the opportunist’s bigotry, hatred of,

and prejudice against, Jewish people.

 

When Alfred Dreyfus was humiliated

on the Champs de Mars there were three hundred

Jewish officers in the French Army,

ten of them generals. The real spy,

Major Esterhazy, with official

connivance, died in his bed as Count

de Voilement at ‘Holmleigh’, 21

Milton Road, Harpenden,

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CONFLUENCE

To dominate the conflux of the rivers,

the Minnesota with the Mississipi,

a place inhabited for ten thousand years,

Bdote in the local language,

Fort Snelling was built on the bluff above.

The confluence of the rivers was sacred

to the Dakota Sioux, who believed

that their first ancestors had come as spirits

from the stars, and had been made human

from the clay along the riverbanks,

with life breathed into them like a newborn’s cry.

 

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PROPHETS

The evangelist – spiritual aide-de-camp

to Old Glory’s Commanders-in-Chief,

and nostrum-monger of eternal life –

in white shirt, black shoes, socks, trousers, the Good Book

open in his hands, sits astride a donkey

near the Garden of Gethsemane

on Mount Olive. Below him on Temple Mount,

in noonday brightness, is the Dome of the Rock

and the Al-Aksa Mosque and, out of sight,

the Western Wall. He looks at the camera

as one who might say, ‘Behold! When the Jews

hold Jerusalem heaven will open.

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THE WRONG TROUSERS?

Found among the effects in the bullet-pocked,

blood stained rooms of Bin Laden’s hideaway

in Abbottabad – named for Major Abbott

of the British Raj – was a journal

describing Osama’s time in the UK

as a young, ultimately disillusioned,

teenager. For some reason, unexplained,

with his hosts he visited Shakespeare’s birthplace

every Sunday. ‘Here’s a knocking indeed!…

How now? A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!’

 

Also found: ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’

dubbed in Pashtu;

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FOUR SCREEN PLAYS

I wrote the screenplays between 2001 and 2008. They are presented below in the order in which they were written. Each is set against the background of armed conflict.

I was inspired to learn how to write screenplays as a result of a number of conversations in New York in August 2001 with Annabel Honor-Lissi, a fellow creative, and digital tutorials with her which followed.

 

THE MEMORIAL

The Memorial is about redemption through kindness, compassion and love.  Set in the immediate aftermath of the 1st World War, it is a love story that explores class,

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