Catherine Philp

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It was a photograph on the Times website that set my heart racing, my adrenalin spiking and gave me that strangely metallic taste of no taste in my mouth. Baghdad, its buildings and palm trees wreathed in smoke, like a Lower Manhattan on the Tigris on the morning of 9/11. Sitting at my kitchen table, I could hear the boom, smell the cordite filling Haifa Street.

I watched the television news with its mobile phone footage capturing the moment that two of the bombs went off. It was later that I had to turn off, when the camera caught a man walking away, uninjured but dazed, shaking his head gently at the cameramen who sought to stop him, as if his still mask might slip and his many griefs explode on to the pavement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Few experiences are more frustrating than seeing misery unfold before you as you stand helplessly by. Few provoke a stronger urge to cry: “Something must be done!” Add a cartoon baddie with a creepy Hitler tache, the ruination of a beautiful land and a televisually awful cholera outbreak and the cries for action get shriller still: “Send in the troops!”

The ruination of Zimbabwe provokes - in Britain, at least - many more such calls than most of the other miseries unfolding in Africa. Ghastly, intractable problems such as Congo and Darfur are not our problem. Our history as the former colonial power makes Zimbabwe our cause - and our refusal to intervene, moral cowardice, dressed up in historical excuses and lingering white guilt.…  Seguir leyendo »