This is awkward. Sir John Holmes, the Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, flies in to Khartoum tonight en route to Darfur. I suspect the Khartoum press corps may be otherwise engaged.
Another day of madness in Khartoum. Flat out reporting on the primary school teacher who has been arrested here for naming a teddy bear Mohamed. Strictly speaking it was her kids that named the bear, but anyway she’s the one in trouble. I’m currently staying with Meskel Square and his missus who works for the … More Quiet Diplomacy and Ringing Phones
One of the golden rules of being a freelancer is never to complain about lack of work. I have been moaning about being stuck in Khartoum for the past week, unable to get to where I want to be. And then Sudanese police arrest a British teacher here for naming a teddy bear Mohamed. All … More Teddy Bears and Islam
People come from all over Khartoum to eat fish at Shieb’s little restauarant over the Nile in Omdurman. It’s little more than a couple of bare rooms with a scattering of plastic chairs and tables outside. Inside the heat is fierce as two blazing fires heat vats of oil where the freshly caught fish is … More The Most “Tastable” Fish in Omdurman
Kalma camp in South Darfur is the most miserable of the region’s miserable camps. It is too big by far. Something like 90,000 people live in its shacks and mud-brick homes in a sprawling mass of humanity where seething tension frequently erupts into violence as tribe plots against tribe. Most charities dare not venture inside … More Kalma: How to Turn a Solution into a Problem
My list of favourite African cities wouldn’t be long. Africa is more about its villages. That’s where the history, the stories and the culture are to be found. Too many of its cities are dull collections of 1970s buildings that were too often modelled on the gloomy eastern European utilitarianism of the Cold War. Not so … More Khartoum or Bust
Being a freelance foreign correspondent is great. I’m my own boss, picking the stories I want to write, when I want to write them. For weeks at a time I sit around drinking coffee, reading the papers and scouring the internet – and I call it work. Some mornings there’s time for 18 holes and I can still … More A Freelancer’s Whinge