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Month: April 2018

A Close Encounter

A Close Encounter

It was a beautiful mid-October day in the Dolpo region of western Nepal in 2014. Under bright blue skies our group of 13 trekkers left the lovely village of Saldang, and crossed the 4,565 metre (14,977 foot) Khoma La mountain pass, before slowly descending to the village of Khomagaon, just in time to witness a wonderful series of horse races, part of a grand and colourful wedding celebration. I was enjoying myself immensely and mingling with the huge crowds of…

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Like a Rolling Stone

Like a Rolling Stone

Sometimes I just can’t make up my mind. That’s when I leave things up to fate. It was late September 1970, and I had been hanging out at my parents’ place in West Orange, New Jersey, for about a month. It was my second visit that year and it was clearly time to move on. But where to? I could hitchhike back to Edmonton and see if I could land a job, but I was also tempted to head north…

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Aye, there goes Bobby Sands

Aye, there goes Bobby Sands

The body of Bobby Sands was moved to his family home in the Catholic Twinbrook neighbourhood of West Belfast on the day the 27-year-old hunger striker finally died of starvation. Thousands of friends, relatives and fellow paramilitary volunteers came to the wake to pay their respects, and two days later Sands was given a hero’s funeral by the Provisional IRA. It began with a mass at his local church, St. Luke’s Chapel, followed by a nearly three-hour-long, five-mile procession, led…

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Take Me to the Worst of It

Take Me to the Worst of It

When I arrived in Belfast on April 30, 1981, to cover the imminent death of 27-year-old Bobby Sands and the climax of the IRA hunger strikes in Long Kesh (or Maze) Prison, I had to really scramble to find accommodation of any kind. Every major British, Irish and American newspaper and every big English language television network seemed to have descended on Belfast and grabbed virtually all the available hotel rooms in the fractured city. I got one of the…

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