Notes From the Margins…


  • June 16, 2011
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In the course of writing my book about borders and migration I’ve visited a lot of great European cities, including some that I’d never been to before, like Bratislava, Warsaw, Lublin, Brescia, and – strange as it may seem – Rome, where I am now.   It’s a vibrant and magnificent city, in which...

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!


Stop Rania Deportation!

  • June 10, 2011
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As Britain Sees a Needy Child
By Matt Carr

Rania Abdechakour

Credit:Bolton News Picture Agency

BOLTON, Jun 10, 2011 (IPS) – The British Home Office has ruled that a severely disabled five-year-old girl should be returned to Algeria. The ruling demonstrates just how tough some European governments are getting on immigration…

My piece for IPS News...

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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