A White Horse in the clouds

Africa far and wide

When I visit the Vumba Mountains, I feel like I’m being swept up in a fairy-tale, a make belief world! For me this enchanting land stirs up the memories and imagination of a child; with mist that pours over the mountain edges like frothy white milk, monkey ropes that hang from mossy branches and exotic gardens that drip with colour. How can you not be captivated by a land so beautiful?

Every winter we cross the border into Zimbabwe and make our way up the steep incline to the White Horse Inn, tucked away in the crease of a mountain cloaked with forest. When I step into the old English-style inn, I’m transported into a magical world frozen in time. Where bathrooms are still called powder rooms, where my perfectly soft boiled egg is served in the finest silver egg cup, and where the lounge and bar are made cozy…

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Smoke Signals

The Slog

smokesigsTaking sides in the Middle East. I wonder if the US State Department is surprised by this: Saudi Arabia transferred $4 billion to the Egyptian army yesterday in aid – $2 billion deposited in cash to the central bank in Cairo. Riyadh later announced a gift of $1 billion worth of gas and $1 billion available for propping up the Egyptian currency. Another $3 billion transfer was due from the United Arab Emirates after a UAE delegation spent a few hours in Cairo yesterday.

While being an obvious vote of support by Riyadh and the UAE for the military coup which deposed the Muslim Brotherhood, the move also makes it clear to the ignorant infidel that (a) not all Arab regimes are in concert with religious fanatics, and (b) it’s not as simple as Sunni v Shia. The Saudis are predominantly Sunni (like the Muslim Brotherhood) but they abhor MB violence, radicalism against monarchies…

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Must read article by former BBC journalist

BBC Watch

A July 8th article by the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus entitled “Egypt’s political unrest causes regional concern” opens thus:

“The removal from office of a president drawn from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian military clearly has implications for political Islam around the region.

Similar movements in Tunisia and Syria have been watching events closely and will be drawing their own lessons.” [emphasis added] 

“Similar movements”? With a deep sigh I made a note to myself to write an article about the Muslim Brotherhood network and specifically its Syrian branch and former London resident Rachid Ghannouchi.  

But it turns out that I don’t have to – because former BBC correspondent John Ware has written a long and excellent piece on the subject which anyone (including current BBC staff and quite a few politicians) who hopes to begin to understand the basics of the…

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United Nations Human Rights Council November Insanity Returns

Beyond the Cusp

Every November the United Nations General Assembly treats UN watchers and news hounds to a bit of theatrical absurdness unmatched almost anywhere else in the known universe. That is when the new members are chosen to serve three years on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). This year there are fourteen seats up for grabs of the total forty-seven seats to be divided amongst the different regions. Among the nations whose terms are ending are stellar rights abusers Pakistan, Venezuela and Kazakhstan. Not to fear that their absence will be sorely missed as the nations vying for their slots include Algeria, Chad, China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia,Syria and Vietnam. It is nice to know that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Some of the other current member states include Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Cuba, Mexico and the United States. The membership of…

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