GUNS, CIGARETTES AND SALAFI DREAMS – The roots of Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

Mokhtar Belmokhtar

There are facts about Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that are reassuringly hard and verifiable. The organisation exists. It’s run by Algerian Arabs. It’s made a home from home in the north east of Mali, on Tinariwen’s native earth. It earns millions and millions of euros from kidnapping westerners. No one knows exactly how much. Every now and then it chops the head off one of its victims. All in the service of a dream that has become a nightmare for the people of the Sahara

A walk in Ebbor Gorge – Do drugs help creativity?

I went for a walk in Ebbor Gorge yesterday. It’s a deep dank wooded gash in the Mendip Hills, about 45 minutes drive south of Bristol. Hunter gatherers used to live here. I kind of envy them. Walking up the slippery slimy rocks on the ever enclosing path up through the limestone cliffs, I could…