Tag Archives: peace


FROM THE NOTEBOOK: The same old tragedy

As I write things are getting more and more out of hand in Gaza. The priority must be some kind of ceasefire, but despite international condemnation we fear that more civilians in Gaza will be needlessly massacred before we get to that point.

When I last posted the world was hoping for calm after the devastating news that the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers had been murdered. I could just about focus on normal business then but today it feels odd for me to update a largely apolitical blog about reading and writing without at least acknowledging our same old tragedy, intensifying right now.

Especially as I’ve been leafing through my notebook and found something relevant to share.    

La Paz, 22 August 2011

The conversation in Cusco with the Israeli guy with the fast heart rate made me a little bit more sympathetic to those among them who travel. He spoke about how he could not fully trust Arab Israelis even though they were his friends. He was reasonable and spoke with fairness.

Looking back on that I am reminded of a scene from ‘Waltz with Bashir’. And furthermore a line from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which I am currently reading, rings true:

“Atrocities are sometimes nothing less than the vengeance of the tormented.”


EXTRACT: From my short story Men Like Khalil

A few days ago I announced I have written a short story following the murder of Lee Rigby last year in Woolwich. In that post (below) I explained that my story is less about the savage event itself and more about the fallout.

As we have this week remembered a time when our well-integrated, diverse society was met with a great challenge, here’s an extract from the story I aim to publish in autumn…

‘There’s lots of Muslims tweeting now,’ said Javed, leafing again through the columns on his touchscreen. ‘They’re saying this is all wrong. But there are tweets from the EDL too. They’re gathering in Woolwich, tonight.’

Khalil walked to the window and looked out to the empty car park. His Mercedes would soon fade in the dusk. He was here, perhaps where he was always meant to be. This still night, with the first glimpses of summer balm, had the taste of something familiar. An incident which makes an entire nation stop and drop its mouth; the subtle positioning of each player feeling the breeze, a government mishandling the whole thing. Whether it was a matter of hours or days, this mosque could not go unnoticed and would need to be protected for however long it took.

See the post below for further information about Men Like Khalil.


NEWS: Short story set on day of Woolwich murder due out in autumn

Today I’ve posted the front cover of my latest piece of work, a short story called Men Like Khalil, which I have just finished writing.


Set on the day of the shocking murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last year, Men Like Khalil is about community and fear, about anxieties on British streets when they become a theatre for the world’s troubles.

My main character, Khalil, is a taxi-driver by trade but operates as his mosque’s makeshift security guard. He’s called into action as news of the incident trickles then explodes into the public domain, with seemingly little left to the imagination.

Many of us feared the worst that day as emotions ran high throughout our communities. I wrote this story in an effort to recreate and make sense of that tension. This story is therefore less about the savage event itself and more about the fallout.

It should be available to download as an ebook for FREE later this year, probably November.

I’ve turned to the same people who did a great job during my self-publication of A Missing MC; while Jan Disley is currently busy going through my 5,000 word manuscript, Tim Slater has once again done a terrific job with the cover.

I’d also like to pay tribute to the friends, family and colleagues of Lee Rigby, particularly as we approach the anniversary of his death. While their world was shattered very publicly, they kept themselves away from the aftermath.

I was privileged to stand alongside other members of the public who lined the streets of Bury for Lee’s two-day funeral with military honours. It was an event I am sure all concerned were very proud of.