Notes From the Margins…
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Lampedusa 2

  • June 23, 2011
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LAMPEDUSA, Italy, Jun 22, 2011 (IPS) – It”s only a few hundred metres from the rocky hillside overlooking Lampedusa”s commercial port to the other side of the protected bay. For more than a decade this narrow strip of ocean has been a migratory gateway into Europe for tens of thousands of mostly African migrants. The numbers have risen and fallen in response to shifting government policies and geopolitical developments.

Second of my two IPS Lampedusa pieces.   Here’s the link to the whole article:


Lampedusa 1

  • June 22, 2011
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LAMPEDUSA, Italy – It”s 4.30 in the morning and the full moon is low in the sky above Lampedusa harbour as the Guardia di Finanza patrol boat escorts a fishing boat containing 19 Tunisian migrants into the closed military port. They include six women, one child and to the amusement of the Medicins...

Radio silence

  • June 15, 2011
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I’m in Lampedusa at the moment, with only intermittent Internet access.     Too intermittent in any case, to have the opportunity to blog.   Up this morning at 4.30 to watch 19 Tunisian migrants being brought ashore by the Guardia di Finanza.     Back online soon!


Blair: The Hollow Man Cometh

  • June 09, 2011
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The paperback version of Tony Blair’s ‘journey’ has just been published, and the cardboard version of our millionaire ex-PM is out and about trying to promote it, while simultaneously dispensing pearls of wisdom on how ‘we’ should respond to the Arab Spring.   The sight of Blair’s weird death mask face with its rictus grin...

UKBA – protecting our borders

  • June 06, 2011
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This is the lovely Rania Abdechakour.   She is five years old and suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.   She also has reflex anoxic seizures which cause her heart to stop beating.

If the UK Border Agency (UKBA) gets its way, Rania may well be one of the youngest ‘illegal immigrants’ ever...

A tribute to Syed Saleem Shahzad

  • June 04, 2011
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Andrew Buncombe at  The Independent has written a moving personal tribute to the murdered Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad.

Syed Saleem Shahzad had strong hands.  When he took hold of one of yours and clasped it enthusiastically you wondered what damage might be done. It was just that way three weeks ago in Islamabad, in the...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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