Friday, June 20, 2008


One would expect the courageous and inquisitive decision of experienced Christian journalist Huw Spanner (pictured) to go to the Middle East to interview a senior Hamas figure, not something that happens every day (to put it mildly), to elicit real interest -- beyond the "don't talk to terrorists" brigade, that is. People who have genuine enough concerns but not, I judge, hope and history on their side. However, Huw tells me that since he has returned he is "shocked" at the general apathy towards the obvious questions about what Damascus, Syria, Hamas and Khalid Mish'al, widely regarded as the most senior figure in the movement, are all like. Americans are often accused of parochialism when it comes to assigning global understanding on their list of priorities, but it is a problem that reaches deep into Europe, too. We assume more than we learn. The longer-length interview (with the aforementioned Third Way) is here. Huw asks some penetrating questions and cannot be accused of giving his interlocutor an easy time. The main purpose of the 'high profile' interview slot, by the way, is to probe behind the influences and background of its subject, rather than to "do a Paxman". This one provides some fascinating material as well as some possible skirting round the edges.

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