Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

CIA HQ, AFGHANISTAN, 2021

In a compound some two miles square, surrounded

by razor wire and guard towers, on a hillside

three miles north east of the airport and six

from Kabul’s centre, are rows of burnt out cars

and pick-ups. Beneath the vehicles

are solidified pools of molten metal.

Elsewhere in the compound are the ruins

of a mock-up village used to train

operatives to carry out night terror raids.

The recreational block is intact.

Inside are unfinished meals and abandoned

games of chess.

share

DOUBLETHINK

‘Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no room in the country for two peoples… the only solution [after World War II ends] is a Land of Israel…without Arabs…’ Yosef Weitz, 1940.

At first glance the photo only seems to show

three men standing side by side on a slope

somewhere in Palestine. They are dressed

like professional men, Americans

or Europeans. The one in the middle

holds a map of some sort in his left hand,

and points at something in the distance

with his right.

share

‘CHILDREN PLAYING ON OMAHA BEACH’: David Seymour

The war is two years over. The tide is out,

and the beach clear of detritus except

for part of an upended landing stage,

like a leviathan’s jaw, in a pool.

Beside it there are four small children,

who are playing the serious, absorbing games

the very young play with wet, fugitive sand.

The photographer, whose parents were murdered

by the Nazis, was killed by machine gun fire

near the Suez Canal. He photographed

Ingrid Bergman with a dove, and Picasso

with ‘Guernica’;

share

NO SURRENDER

Before the six counties of Northern Island

had civil rights, when some subjects had two votes

and some had none, and our constitution

permitted such injustice, I was woken,

in my third floor student digs on Newsham Drive,

Liverpool, early one summer Saturday

by pipes and drums and accordions.

The city’s Orange Lodges were having

their family day out in Newsham Park –

more than ninety Lodges each with a band

of swagger and lilt: ‘The Sash My Father Wore’,

share

CIRCUSES WITHOUT THE BREAD

We are told by a Minister of the Crown

that the ‘death toll is mercifully low’,

that we must ‘learn to live’ with the pandemic.

We are a mature democracy but

allow ourselves to be treated like infants.

Though his writ runs only in the largest part

of these unequal, disunited kingdoms,

his pronouncements dominate the media.

He is the son of working class Pakistani

immigrants. A banker by trade, his vowels –

though not those of one who would have ordered

“Over the top!”,

share

OTHER PEOPLE’S FLOWERS Tricia Durdey: Writer

I first met David and Sylvia Selzer – www.sylviaselzer.com – many years ago when, as a child, I would go to watch my parents rehearsing plays at Chester Little Theatre. At first I saw them as newcomers (if younger) joining a group of eccentric and opaque would-be-actors, producers, and set designers, who were also surrogate aunties and uncles to my sister and me. Gradually, as I grew up, I became more aware of their vitality, curiosity and creative urgency, and I no longer thought of them merely as two in a crowd, but as my own special friends.

share