From Christchurch to Bush House

Tonight I attended Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards with  RachelHolmes Head of Literature for The South Bank. At our table were  Henderson, (head of Index on Censorship), Anna Ford (patron of Index) Mark Kermode (film critic) and Jonathon Dimbleby (future  patron of index).  We sat  after a Champagnereception.  The keynote speaker was Alan Johnston.  His speech made me proud towork with the BBC who stood by him and campaigned to free him from the Iraqiinsurgents. Cont...

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My poem for Saturday Live this week was about state endorsed torture. Tonights event was about freedom of expression.  We did not know whether that Julian Assange, director if Investigations for Wikileaks was to turn up to accept The Economist New Media Award.  Thankfully he came , a tall studious man with shock-blonde hair and pale skin.  Secondsbefore stepping on stage he whispered “someone may lunge at the stage to present me with a subpoena. I can not allow them to do this and shall leave if I see them”.

I stood by the stage while he delivered his speech. Fortunately no-one made thatlunge.  It proved to me, another reason why Wikileaks and Julian Assage where the right people for this award.  They take great personal risk,  and this is one criteria of the judging panel.  The event came to a close and I hopped  in a cab with the executive producer of rawanda dogs an intern of index on censorshipa dn the director of the film Ahlaam (dreams),  Mohammed Al-Daradji

image (pic: Mohammed Al Daradji, director of Ahlaam and I)

At 10.30pm we left Christchurch in a taxi  for Bush House and an interview with BBC World Service with the film maker.   The  interview  finished at 11.30pm.  The most intense time was midnight outside the iconic Bush House having done the interview for The World Today with the films director Mohammed Al-Daradji, we discussed Iraq, he spoke passionately    “To many it is just statistics “oh a man killed here, a suicide bomb there” I have lost five members of my close family”.  Mohammed then listed each memberof his family: when and how each member was murdered by suicide bombers or American bombs. “This is why this film is here. To show the peoples story, we arepeople, real people - this is really happening”.  

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