1 March 2009 0 Comments

The Middle East and the Art of Non-catastrophic Thinking

When things look bad in the Middle East, foreign correspondents and diplomats and local politicians tend to forecast every catastrophe up to — and sometimes including — the end of the world. I generally have a more relaxed approach. Why? Because of Mary Renault. I discovered Renault in a used bookstore on a rather ratty […]

20 July 2007 0 Comments

"Quick, woman, go and get the Koran!"

I have never been a religious man. Which is why I’ve always wondered why so many Palestinians want me to become Muslim. I’ve been asked, quite formally, to accept Islam on three occasions during the course of my reporting from the Middle East. Two of them I consider to have been somewhat pro forma queries […]