I'll happily take a guy with a gun over the clown with the clipboard any day
A foreign correspondent's life can be terribly boring, but there are moments when a small victory over some jumped-up jobsworth makes it all very worthwhile
If I counted the hours of waiting, they would take up a good part of a lifetime. The depths of frustration involved have been fathomless. I have lost count of the times I solemnly declared: "I am too old for this nonsense." Of course, I keep doing it. I am no longer fit for anything else. The habits of cunning, evasion, despair and the transient elations of the road are too deeply engrained for a change at this point.
But I make this declaration: Give me the straightforward sound of the guns any day before the devious murmurings of the bureaucrats. Give me a sniper-infested suburb before slick bullies behind desks.
My first experience of bureaucratic torment was on a trip to Sudan and Eritrea with a group of MEPs in the 1980s. I recall the late Niall Andrews of Fianna Fail, a fine travelling companion, putting up a particularly spirited defence of the free press when we were held in a stifling police hut in the desert. Andrews had courage aplenty. He was an easy man to like.