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Freedom at 4am: Misadventures in Afghanistan

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Book Available on Amazon
Freedom at 4AM is a true life tale of cultural clash in Afghanistan: from the political to the personal, from the spiritual to sexual. Set against a backdrop of history, geopolitics, religion and misadventure this immersive story climaxes with a unlikely call to prayer under life threatening circumstances...

"A powerful, sharply observed story of Marc Perry's experience working for an NGO in Kabul. He vividly conveys the underbelly of seediness and corruption of internationals; working in the shadows of violence, and death. Very readable - once the reader started, difficult to put down".
Donald Reeves MBE.


I was honoured to be one of the first people to own a copy and to read it. It was compelling, terrifying, eye-opening and heart-breaking. I’m extremely proud to know and to have worked with such a talented and brave journalist.
Lottie Gross, Editor, Rough Guides. 


What impresses me is that you’re fair to Afghans and Afghan culture, even as…

The Brits in Kosovo

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On Saturday the 12th of June 1999, in a shoe factory on the outskirts of Skopje, General Sir Mike Jackson received a telegram from the Queen; it read:
"I have nothing but admiration for the way in which you have carried out your duties over recent weeks during this difficult time of preparation and improvisation in caring for the refugees. I have no doubt that much greater pressures now lie ahead as you prepare to move into Kosovo as part of KFOR with the eyes of the world on you. I am confident in your ability to rise to these challenges and I am proud of every one of you, as are your families and friends who watch and wait. My thoughts and prayers are with you all."
And rise to the challenge they did, but you don't need to take my word for it.
It's exactly ten years since the British had any sort of substantial presence here in Kosovo yet from my window in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Union Jack can still be seen flying along side the Stars and Stripes. Today t…

Following in refugee footsteps

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Three years ago, from a roadside in Kabul, I witnessed one of many refugee camps clinging to the outskirts of the sprawling city. The people inside were the survivors of another freezing winter in which young an old alike had frozen to death due to the hard choices between buying wood, food or clothing. They were the ‘internally displaced’ of southern Afghanistan, fleeing from fighting in Helmand between Taliban, local groups, and troops from my own country. Without means of provision, without employment, without hope and without freedom of movement, they, like the many others, were confined to scratching out a survival as best they could. Without security, and concerned about how justifiably unwelcome and Englishman might be, the nearest I got to the camp was to briefly walk to the circumference, where a group of kids were gleefully playing with a plastic yellow duck in a dirty open sewer. The innocence of children, who know no better than to keep playing is something I would see aga…

British Authors on Ottoman Tolerance

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There is a famous routine in Monty Python’s The life of Brian that might be equally applied to the Ottoman Empire:

Q: So, what have the Ottomans ever done for us?
A: Coffee drinking. They give us that, and algebra.
Degree granting universities, the camera...
Preservation and translation of ancient Greek philosophy and other major contributions to the age of enlightenment...
Q: Well, all right, all right, apart from coffee drinking, algebra, degree granting universities, the camera, preservation and translation of ancient Greek philosophy and other major contributions to the enlightenment, what did the Ottomans ever do for us?
A: There was religious tolerance, what about religious tolerance? 


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When reading certain Christian religious histories of the Balkans today one could be forgiven for thinking that the days of the Sultans were only filled with decline, decay, darkness and the unbearable burden of the ‘Ottoman Yoke.’ While recognising human suffering – and all empire building dyn…