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Tom Carver

Tom Carver is a former BBC foreign correspondent and the author of a memoir of his father, Where the Hell Have You Been?

Diary: Philby in Beirut

Tom Carver, 11 October 2012

I went to the rue Kantari in Beirut to try to find Kim Philby’s flat. The street, which stands on top of the hill of Ras Beirut and looks out over the sparkling lights of St George Bay, is full of handsome limestone buildings that wouldn’t look out of place in the 16th arrondissement. Most are now abandoned shells, the balustrades and architraves still spattered with bullet holes from the civil war, the windows missing their glass. Around the corner on the buzzy rue Hamra the bars and shops blazed with light and music, but rue Kantari, site of one of the most famous acts of the Cold War, was dark.

Diary: In Zakho

Tom Carver, 9 May 1991

It was night when we reached the banks of the Tigris. A huge full moon burned like a false sun in the open sky. In the moonlight I could make out the trees and bushes of Iraqi Kurdistan two hundred yards away on the other side. A few inches below our feet the vast river hissed past at the speed of a freight train. Downstream, the Iraqi Army had started shelling again. They were trying to find our crossing-point but were not having much luck. Every so often a spurt of red tracer would streak upwards but the Peshmerga I was with weren’t taking any notice, so I didn’t either. What had unsettled me more was our encounter with three jeeploads of journalists who were driving away from the river bank as we arrived.

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