When in August 2021 western Military forces withdrew from Afghanistan, a plane-load of dogs was evacuated from the country leaving even less room for those Afghani families who had helped the allied troops during the war. Today in the UK an estimated 9,000 Afghans are still living in temporary accommodation in hotels along the Bayswater Road. Some settling occurred. Jobs were found, low-paying and under the table for sure; children went to school and learned English along with math as they began to make a new life. Now the British government plans to move these families to Yorkshire. It won’t even be the same English.
Rumor has it – via The Daily Mail – that Boris Johnson has made over five million quid since leaving office as Prime Minister, not a bad haul for a bumbling bear. And with that – (offers accepted at over four million) – his offer has been accepted on a manor house – with a moat. But the moat only runs around three sides of the house so it won’t do a lot of good when the people finally come for him. He may think he is safe in Oxfordshire, but outside of the university Quad, there are country folk who know what he has done.
As Polly Toynbee writes in The Guardian, the true legacy of Boris Johnson is that dishonesty is standard, the Commons has lost sight of the truth. The former leader’s disregard for truthfulness emboldens others happy to follow his example, knowing the system rarely holds them to account.
Nicola Sturgeon is stepping down as First Minister of Scotland. This is a big blow for the independence movement she has championed for her entire political career. Nicola, recognized in the western world, like Angela, by her first name, is a deeply respected politician. Her daily briefings through the Covid pandemic were a relief to everyone in the British Isles. When mistakes were made by her politicians, the retribution was swift. Nicola’s level of honesty was never equaled in the English government and only highlighted the ‘let the bodies pile up’ leadership south of the border. Though there may be plenty of young politicians coming up through the Scottish ranks, the question of Scotland’s independence remains in deadlock. Nicola insisted that her decision to step down was anchored in what she felt was “Right for the country, for my party, and the independence cause I have devoted my life to.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he had Alexei Navalny ‘done and dusted’ when last year Navalny was sentenced to 20 plus years in jail. For a few months, Putin could allow himself a grin and a chuckle thinking of all the lost years of family and political life that Navalny would endure. If Navalny did survive the sentence, Putin could hope that he would emerge a husk – a broken man. But this month that grin turned tight-lipped. The documentary film Navalny was nominated for both a British BAFTA and the American Oscar Awards. And on Sunday it won the British BAFTA for the best documentary film.
However, the Bulgarian investigative journalist Christo Grozev, who features in the film Navalny was, along with his family, banned from attending the ceremony in London due to a public security risk. In the film, Grozev and his fellow journalists tracking the poisoning of Navalny clearly show the Russian States’ involvement. Pushing the blame hockey puck around the stadium, the British Metropolitan police force said that while it could not comment on the safety of an individual or advice given to them, it was “absolutely concerned” with the “hostile intentions of foreign states” on UK soil. And they have a point. The finger of accusation points straight northeast to Russia with the successful poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the botched attempt on Sergei Scribal and his daughter Yulia that killed a British woman, Dawn Sturgess, in error. All this, mind you, when the aforementioned past Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a cozy seat to the Russian newspaper mogul (owning among other things the Evening Standard) Lord Lebedev, in 2020. A heavy sum supporting the Conservative party was added to their coffers. I can’t get the image out of my mind of a snake charmer playing his flute as his pet cobra rises in the woven basket of his hiding.
But the Met Office truth remains that “the situation that journalists face around the world, and the fact that some journalists face the hostile intentions of foreign states whilst in the UK, is a reality. Which begs the next question, How will the American academy respond to the nomination of #Navalny? Navalny knows this film is his cross on Calvary and that he may be the one who does not make it down from the Hill. Havel made it through – Mandela made it through – will Navalny?
In the early days following the news of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, a friend of a friend wrote letters, and – as we spread the news of this tragedy – we share them. Tuna Şare wrote to Lucia Jacobs who wrote to A. Broad. Here is a part of Tuna’s letter and I have updated the numbers ….
“I am deeply shaken, still in Oxford but will go to Turkey in two days to join the rescue and help operations.
You may have heard about the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Two earthquakes (7.8 and 7.6 in magnitude) affected 10 cities in Turkey. The area affected is the size of the entire United Kingdom. Earthquakes caused an unprecedented energy discharge equivalent to 130 atomic bombs, and the earth’s crust moved by 3 meters, damaging roads, bridges, and airports.
The recent estimates of the people under the rubble (and dead by now) are around 47,000, and millions are left homeless in bitter winter conditions. The scale of destruction is apocalyptic. Our beloved city of Antioch, for example, is literally all gone along with its cultural heritage. Many archaeologists and academics, students have died and lost their families. Homes too.
Mother is very angry. She has tried to hide it, burping and farting, holding her wind in as best she can until she exploded. Two weeks after this initial emesis she has vomited again. The latest death count is up to 47,000 and still rising. How can one care for the fusses of politicians and small scrappy wars where the planet is so attacked by the creatures who feed off of her.
As we hear the news I think about those still buried – alive – and waiting for help that may or may not still come.
There is a line -a scene – at the end of the film The English Patient where Katharine is mortally injured and alone in the cave. Almasy has gone to get help and left her with a flashlight, a pencil, and paper.
Katharine is writing. The FLASHLIGHT is faint. She shivers.
“…the fire is gone now, and I’m horribly cold.KATHARINE (O/S) – The English Patient
I really ought to drag myself outside
but then there would be the sun …
I think of those still living, trapped, crushed,
buried in the rubble of our making
The light has gone out …
and we watch it flicker and fade.”
This has been A Letter From A. Broad. Written and Read for you by Muriel Murch