Why covering other people’s wars made me value the EU

For this week’s The New European, I have written a piece on how reporting on armed conflict in other parts of the world made me grateful for the peace which has prevailed in Western Europe during my lifetime. You can read the first two paragaphs below, and the full story in the newspaper, on sale here .

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IN A LITTLE OVER 24 HOURS, THE CITY CENTRE TURNED INTO A WAR ZONE. That Saturday lunchtime, a demonstration turned violent. By Sunday evening, there was a gun battle as rebels tried to take control of the TV station. By Monday morning, tanks shelled the parliament building.

It was October 1993. Russia was a discontented country. The massive economic shock which had come from the collapse two years earlier of the Soviet Union had left millions of losers. The political transformation had only been partial. President Boris Yeltsin was left with a parliament elected in Communist times, and containing many Communist MP’s. Wanting both to shore up their own positions, and to oppose Mr Yeltsin’s reforms, they defied the president. Political tension led to an explosion of bloodletting.

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Tanks on a bridge over the Moskva River, central Moscow, 4 October 1993 ©James Rodgers

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Review of ‘No Road Home: Fighting for Land and Faith in Gaza’

My latest book, No Road Home: Fighting for Land and Faith in Gaza, has just been reviewed by Amelia Smith  — @amyinthedesert on Twitter – for Middle East Monitor. You can read her review here.

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The book is available from the publisher, Abramis, or from Amazon.

Faith, Land, and Israeli-Palestinian Peace

A house taken over by Jewish settlers, East Jerusalem, 2011 ©James Rodgers

A house inhabited by Jewish settlers, East Jerusalem, 2011 ©James Rodgers

This week the New Statesman website has published a piece I wrote on plans to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Beginning with an account of Palestinian prisoners being freed on the West Bank in 2003 — a similar release has been talked about now — it looks at the challenges facing any attempt to get the diplomacy going again. You can read it here.

The article discusses some of the ideas I consider at greater length in No Road Home.

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