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Truth and love are the victims of war.

Byline: George Galloway

IF God wills it by the time you read this, I will be in Jakarta, Indonesia, my first time in a nation I feel I've always known.

It was 24 hours getting here and 24 hours back to spend 24 hours in the country. That's what I call a week of living dangerously, made possible only by the first-class service of Emirates Air and the generosity of my hosts.

Many will have seen the epic movie A Year Of Living Dangerously by Peter Weir, starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver, based around the edgy, anxious, paranoid days of a war correspondent, leading up to the coup against one of my heroes - President Sukarno - in the course of which the US-organised military junta murdered literally millions of people like me. Reds. Or anyone even vaguely pink.

The title comes from Sukarno's own mouth, in his 1964 independence day speech in which he referred in Italian to the "vivere pericolosamente" he'd just lived through. He didn't live through another.

Janine di Giovanni, below, was once a friend of mine. She was a war correspondent too, half Italian half American, and like a young Gina Lollobrigida - glamorous and liberated, a Martha Gelhorn de nos jours.

I lost touch with her a decade ago, only for her to pop up this weekend in the book review sections of the papers, writing about the decade of living dangerously she's just been through and, my God, it reads like fiction. She met an equally glamorous French cameraman, they walked the killing fields of a dozen wars, smelt the corpses of hundreds of the fallen of these wars then repaired to Paris to have seven-year-old Luca together, thinking none of it had scarred them.

Instead, they experienced a tortured descent into drug and alcohol-fuelled post-traumatic stress disorder, madness and divorce.

Her book Ghosts By Daylight - A Memoir Of War And Love, published by Bloomsbury, is truly epic and someone like Peter Weir is almost certainly preparing to turn it into Hollywood gold.

John Simpson, who famously declared that he had liberated Kabul after finding himself the first white man in the city after the Taliban performed what turned out to be a highly successful strategic retreat from the Afghan capital, is no mean war reporter either.

But he's an even better writer and I can and do recommend everything he's written. The best of which, Unreliable Sources, published by Pan, tells the story of how the 20th Century was reported by correspondents. Often mis-reported, sometimes due to ignorance, laziness, or drunken venality but sometimes as deliberate mis or even dis-information.

And, funnily enough, the titles for whom the guilty men worked bear a striking similarity to the mis and disinformers of today, even if under new ownership. Some things never change.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 27, 2011
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