Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Monday, 7 June 2004

Simon Cumbers, a freelance photojournalist, has been killed in Saudi Arabia. R.I.P.

Simon Cumbers, aged 36, was in Saudi Arabia filming with BBC journalist Frank Gardner, when the two were attacked in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital. You can read an obituary here.

Frank Gardner is 'critically wounded but stable' and has apparaently undergone surgery during last night.

Both are experienced and respected journalists who were in Saudi Arabia on their current project with the assistance of the Saudi authrities. I have come specially to appreciate Frank Gardner's reports on the al-Qa'ida phenomenon, and the Arab world generally, over the past couple of years. He is described as the BBC's 'security correspondent' and is a fluent Arabic speaker; I have always wondered precisely what is his background (e.g. ex-spy or 'military attache'?), but his commentary has always seemed to me to carry great authority, being delivered in a calm and measured way, even when delivering horrific news or projections for the future.

This can only add the the unease regarding the political stability of Saudi Arabia, which I discussed only recently.

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