From the print edition of The Catholic Herald, August 15, 2014 A month ago I read an inspiring obituary of a 93-year-old woman called Freydis Sharland, a pioneer who flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in the war. After 1945 she had continued her extraordinary career, on one occasion taking a 430mph Hawker Tempest V on a 4,000 mile flight to Karachi, where she was denied entrance to the officer’s club on account of her sex. A remarkable individual, but… Read on
From the Sunday Telegraph: August 31, 2014 We recently let our flat to three groups of strangers through the website Airbnb. It’s an odd situation, entailing us placing a great deal of trust in people we don’t know and will never meet, who were free to steal, damage or squat, or rustle through our things – that unfinished novel or my secret collection of Third Reich memorabilia. (Only joking; I had those locked away, obviously.) Read the whole… Read on
This is a longer version of an article that appeared in The Spectator in February 2013 It was after his second death threat that Wissam Shamouy decided to leave home. An Assyrian Orthodox Christian from Bakhdida in Iraq’s highly volatile Nineveh province, the 25-year-old was working part-time in a church-run internet café, while studying at engineering college, when he was told of what awaited him. “I got some messages, they told me I was going to be killed because of… Read on
This is an extract from The Silence of Our Friends: the Extinction of Christianity in the Middle East The first Iraqi contact with Christianity came very early. Within Mesopotamia was a small vassal state called Osrhoene, its capital at Edessa, modern-day Turkey, the population of which was largely Aramaean. Legend has it that the incurably ill Abgar V, King of Osrhoene, heard of Jesus and wrote a letter offering to let him stay in the country, as he… Read on
From The Daily Express, July 21, 2014 Actress Gillian Anderson complained that men fail to help her when she’s struggling with the overhead locker on her twice-weekly flights. “I don’t ask for help but it’s amazing how people don’t even offer,” she told Glamour magazine. “Only three times in two months has any man offered help. It’s sad.” Are men selfish and useless or just confused? Perhaps it is time for a new rulebook of modern manners for gentlemen (and ladies). Here… Read on
Asia News has a translation of an article I wrote last December about Fr Ragheed Ganni, the martyred Iraqi priest, whose anniversary falls on June 3, and who wrote for the Catholic site before his murder. Ragheed is one of my son’s middle names, in tribute to an inspiring man.
In response to no popular demand whatsoever, I’m linking to my three latest posts at Spectator blogs. Firstly last Friday’s piece on runaway political correctness and why the consensus can become extreme. On a similar evolutionary note, yesterday’s post on Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance, which argues that the post-war concensus about recent evolution is wrong. And today’s bit on multiculturalism and the future of Britain (pessimistic naturally).
Someone has translated my last Spectator blog into French, on the subject of la persécution des Chrétiens. C’est un grand honneur. Joueuses Pâques!