Author Archives: Miriam

The Porter’s Tale

The most celebrated storyteller in the world is surely the legendary Scheherazade – a woman and a Muslim – who tamed a tyrant with her tales. Persuaded that all women are faithless the cuckolded king Shahrayar metes out collective punishment to the entire sex, wedding and bedding a different girl each night only to have […]

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The Tale of the Bloodied Soldier

I was once asked to talk at a local political meeting about the impact of sanctions on the civilians of Iraq. Amongst the audience I noticed a man with a military bearing and clipped white moustache who looked distinctly out of place. Intrigued, I sought him out when the meeting was over and asked him […]

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The Whore of Babylon

    There are few words in English more evocative or thrilling than the name ‘Babylon’. As a child I believed the city was itself a fantasy – a biblical legend, the work of fabulous imagination. Western civilization, we were told at school, started in Athens and Rome. I knew little of Mesopotamia until I […]

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Iraq, Newspeak and the War on the Imagination

    As a film-maker and journalist who had spent time in Baghdad, I was asked to talk at a number of meetings prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Like many people I believed the machinations around ‘WMDs’ to be a pretext for war that concealed a different agenda – an agenda driven by a […]

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