Friday, November 18, 2005

“It was the flies that told us. There were millions of them, their hum almost as eloquent as the smell. Big as bluebottles, they covered us, unaware at first of the difference between the living and the dead. If we stood still, writing in our notebooks, they would settle like an army – legions of them – on the white surface of our notebooks, hands, arms, faces, always congregating around our eyes and mouths, moving from body to body, from the many dead to the few living, from corpse to reporter, their small green bodies panting with excitement as they found new flesh upon which to settle and feast.”

Robert Fisk was one of a handful of journalists who entered the Sabra and Chatila Palestinian refugee camps within hours of the Israeli endorsed massacre in 1982. I'm currently reading 'Tell Me No Lies', John Pilger's anthology of investigative journalism articles since the second world war, and that passage starts Fisk's outstanding and deeply disturbing contribution to the book, Terrorists. Definitely not for the squeamish, the article makes no bones about where the responsibility for the massacre lay, with the then Israeli Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon, and Tony Parson's old hero, Menachem Begin. No wonder the US kept journalists away from Fallujah. You can get Tell Me No Lies for just over a fiver from Amazon - 600 pages of pure gold.

The message on this soldier's helmet 'kill the messenger' gives an indication of their attitude to the media. More here.

The only tattoo I ever found even vaguely appealing was a guy in a market in Spain who had had his 'washing instructions' label tattooed just below his neck. So, why would you want to do this? Let's hope Charlie Clarke doesn't see it because given the hopeless history of government IT projects he might see this as an alternative to ID Cards.

Steve Bell's view.