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Pass the Ferrero Rocher

I was in a café in downtown Johannesburg, discussing a project with a Japanese friend, when my phone rang. I apologised and answered, and she noticed surprise cross my face. The caller introduced himself, on first-name terms, and proceeded to invite me over to his house. Who was that? she asked, when I’d finished. “Our… read more +

Angola After the War

A new documentary film by Colin Murphy, with stills photography by Guy Tillim (as below), screening on Thursday September 23 on RTE One, at 10.50pm, and on the RTE Player at

The Irish at Gallipoli: Jack Duggan’s letters home

For almost a century the Irish who died at Gallipoli were largely forgotten. In the week that their memory was officially honoured for the first time, with Mary McAleese’s visit to the Gallipoli war graves, a series of letters uncovered in the National Archives tells a vivid story of the sacrifice of two Dublin brothers… read more +

Book review: Cosmo Landesman’s Starstruck

My brother has just launched a new magazine in London called, appropriately, New London Review. (Keen readers will note an entirely accidental similarity to the look of his website.) That reminded me of this book review written for the Irish Times in 2008 that touched upon the story of London’s earlier Modern Review. About three… read more +

Roadblocks of corpses: the media and Haiti

If Haiti was visited by an “apocalypse” or “Dantean” horror in the aftermath of the earthquake of January 12, then there was one news story that perfectly captured it. The streets of Port-au-Prince, the devastated capital, were littered with roadblocks made of corpses. Earthquake survivors, out of either anger or trauma, or perhaps Caribbean voodoo… read more +

David Hare: putting the banks on trial, on stage

Do you believe Brian Lenihan or David McWilliams? IBEC or the Unions? Were the bankers gangsters, or simply suffering from hubris? If conflict is at the heart of drama, then the collapse of the Irish economy should have proved a goldmine for dramatists. A society swept up by irrational exuberance; lone voices shouting stop; pantomime… read more +

Aminatou Haidar returns to Western Sahara

The Western Saharan activist ended her hunger strike on Thursday last, following Morocco’s agreement to allow her return to Laayoune, as I reported for the Sunday Tribune. See also earlier reports on Haidar’s hunger strike here and on the situation in Western Sahara, including an interview with Haidar, here.

On Angola in Le Monde Diplomatique

I spent August in Angola, working on a documentary, and have written

Aziza Brahim sings of Western Sahara

Recently returned from the Western Saharan refugee camps in Algeria, where I was working with Donal Scannel on a documentary he’s making of the Sahrawi exile singer, Aziza Brahim. Here’s a glimpse of Aziza during some downtime on tour in Spain this summer. [youtube=]

Democracy & Dialogue

I’m currently working on a documentary on post-war Angola, and have cut this one-minute short for entry to the Democracy & Dialogue competition in this year’s digital film festival in Dublin. [youtube=]