Wednesday, March 17, 2004

If anyone is watching, apologies for not updating for a week. Within hours of the bombs going off in Madrid last thursday, I started getting phone calls from journalists and did a short piece for the TV news. There is something pretty horrible about getting work out of the slaughter of others. I suppose in a way its not so different from a doctor who gets paid for dealing with the misfortune of others, but at least in most cases doctors get to see the positive outcome of their work. I'm not sure at all if my work will ever have any positive outcomes. Hence, the Guardian's report from the scene on friday left me with not only tears in my eyes, but also a very bad taste in my mouth. I marched with the Spanish-population of Helsinki, and assorted Finns and others, last friday night as we added a few hundred more to the millions on the streets in Spain and the thousands elsewhere around Europe. It seemed the very least I could do.

Last year I got paid to research and write a report on terrorism - I did the best job I could and am relatively happy with the results. But this seems to have made me, by default, "an expert" - a term I would never use myself. Now journalists from decent papers phone me up and ask silly questions about "where next?" that I can't answer, and nor can anyone else besides the sick people who are almost certainly right now, organising the next outrage. Everyone jokes that terrorism studies is a growth industry, and a good line of work to get into, but last thursday it didn't seem very funny.