Well David Tennant is- Saturday 20th BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play- Murder in Samarkand
David Hare’s witty portrait of an unlikely hero, based on the memoir by Craig Murray. Craig is proud to be sent as Ambassador to Uzbekistan, eager to work hard and also eager for fun. The combination takes him on a dangerous course both professionally and personally, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Starring David Tennant as Craig Murray.
Murray has yet to hear the play and joked: “I’m a bit surprised they couldn’t find a better looking actor.” He added: “Obviously I’m delighted David Tennant was me, it’s a tremendous honour in many ways. I’ve been a big Doctor Who fan all my life.” Hare had put a “huge amount of work” into the play, he added. “It is slightly different from the book because he went to Uzbekistan and interviewed people who were present for key events. To go to Tashkent is extraordinary dedication when you think about it. I think the play is positive towards me, but he’s reached that conclusion himself rather than taking my word for it.”
Murray is portrayed as an intelligent but slightly naive diplomat given the ambassador’s job, aged 43, in Uzbekistan, a country ruled then and now by the human rights-ignoring Islam Karimov. The play is set in 2003 when the “war on terror” was at its height and information obtained by the regime’s torturing of Muslim terror suspects was proving useful to the west.
It is the shocking torture and murder of one victim, who was boiled alive while being beaten, that pushes Murray to make a stand. He gives a lecture accusing the Uzbek regime directly.
Recalled to the Foreign Office, Murray is given a dressing down and told that “moral questions aren’t our business”.
The story of Murray’s personal life is told in parallel to the diplomatic one. While still married, he had fallen in love with a lap dancer, Nadira Alieva, whom he wed last year, and who plays several small roles in the radio play, although not herself.
After his sacking by the Foreign Office in 2004 he stood unsuccessfully for parliament in Blackburn against his nemesis, the foreign secretary, Jack Straw. He now campaigns on human rights and African development issues.
This latest article by Moazzam Begg is well worth reading and I do hope he does not withdraw from the wider public sphere, people such as him provide engagement as points of nexus, it is not necessary to agree with all he has to say but it is necessary to communicate, the smears against him remain unfounded and are designed to close down communication, that only benefits extremists of all kinds-
Hatred and Another Agenda: A Response by Moazzam Begg
In the Name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful
I had not imagined that the poorly researched Sunday Times article last week with the suggestion that it promised to expose a tangible link between Amnesty International, the Taliban and I was actually a prelude to something far more sinister against Cageprisoners and I in the days to come.
What I’ve found most puzzling about this whole episode is the timing and what the argument claims to be about. So here I wish to point out some glaring facts that have been purposefully neglected by those leading the charge against me, including I’m afraid, Gita Sahgal, who I’d really hoped would have applied a little more wisdom before she began her crusade.
The first and only time I’ve ever met Ms. Sahgal was on a BBC Radio 4, Hecklers programme hosted by Mark Easton, in 2006. She made a presentation which alleged that the Blair government was pandering to fundamentalists in its fight against terrorism by engaging with groups like the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) – who she alleged were linked to ‘some of the most dangerous movements of our time’. Responding to her I joined a panel that included Daud Abdullah (MCB), Tariq Ramadan, Tahmina Saleem of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) and Nazir Ahmad of the House of Lords.
Ms Sahgal now avers that Amnesty’s relationship is damaged through association with me but, her ideas seemed a little more paradoxically amenable when I suggested that her thesis was flawed because the MCB, ISB, Mr. Ramadan and Ahmed – with all due respect – were largely regarded as sell-outs by some of the very people we needed to engage. I gave her the example of the British government’s banning the BBC from broadcasting Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams’ voice during the Irish ‘Troubles’. I said, based on this experience that the government should in fact be speaking to people like Abu Qatadah, no matter how unpalatable that sounded. Ms Sahgal responded unexpectedly by saying she had no quarrel with my analysis.
So if Gita Sahgal in fact does not oppose dialogue with ‘extremists’ then why all this fuss now? I have been harking on about engagement for years. This seems even more bizarre because only a couple of weeks ago Gordon Brown met in London with Hamid Karzai and outlined a new policy to engage with the Taliban. How ludicrous it seems therefore that I am described the very next week as ‘Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban’. Does anyone really believe this? Surely if that was the case I’d have been invited to the discussions with Messrs. Brown and Karzai about talking to the Taliban, being their ‘most famous supporter’?
If this matter was not so serious I’d be rolling over in laughter. But it is – deadly serious. Over the past few days we have received numerous death threats at Cageprisoners – and this is just the beginning. No doubt, the police will be trawling through the copious hate-mongering posts on right-wing, anti-Muslim blogs but, I doubt that will solve anything.
Purnell sliming off to more lucrative neoliberal concerns, the BBC political correspondent Louise Stewart, hilariously writes-
I think she must have him confused to someone who is not a conniving tory shit. No of course she doesn’t, yuppies flock together (ooh blast from the past, funny how you don’t hear that much now everyone is expected to be a careerist corporate shill).
SOAW:- Martha Giraldo, a Colombian human rights activist and a featured speaker at the 2009 November vigil to close the SOA (video), was subjected to a chilling death threat earlier this week in Cali, Colombia. Two SUVs with tinted windows — the vehicle of choice of Colombian assassins — tried to run her car off of the road. As they pulled up beside her, they pulled out guns and pointed them at her. They never fired a shot, but the message was clear: we can kill you, and if you don’t keep quiet, we will.
Martha Giraldo and her family continue to tell the truth about how the Colombian army killed her father, a campesino, and dressed him up in guerrilla clothing to make the murder look like a “combat kill.” Colombian human rights organizations report that extrajudicial executions of civilians by the Colombian Armed Forces is on the rise. Please take two minutes out of your day today to call one of the Colombia specialists at the State Department, Terry Steers-Gonzalez (202-647-4173) or Susan Sanford (202-647-3142). Click here for the message Martha would like you to communicate.