Robin Lustig
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Former presenter of The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 and Newshour on BBC World Service.

Entries by Robin Lustig

A Widening War: We're Back in Iraq

(6) Comments | Posted 16 August 2014 | (00:00)

I fear that it is no longer fanciful to see the conflagration that has engulfed Syria and Iraq as the Middle East's version of the First World War. Big power rivalries are sucking the region inexorably into the vortex, with incalculable consequences.

When the history books come to be written,...

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A Grandfather's Grave

(0) Comments | Posted 2 August 2014 | (00:00)

In a far corner of the "new" Jewish cemetery (opened 1902) in the Polish city of Wrocław, Piotr Gotowicki is hacking away at the thick ivy that has grown over a gravestone lying flat on the ground.

It's not just any old gravestone, as Piotr knows full well. He has...

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Honouring Ilse Cohn (1897-1941)

(2) Comments | Posted 29 July 2014 | (00:00)

2014-07-28-ilsecohn.jpg


A sun-dappled meadow slopes gently down from the hilltop towards the city of Kaunas. The grass is freckled with yellow and purple wild flowers, a peaceful summer scene that belies an unimaginably brutal past.

On 29 November, 1941, my grandmother, Ilse...

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A Postcard From Pastavy

(1) Comments | Posted 26 July 2014 | (00:00)

What is it about railway stations that conjures up ghosts of the past? I'm standing on the platform in Pastavy (or Postavy), deep in the Belarussian countryside, almost exactly 100 years since my friend Stu Seidel's grandfather, Julius Seidel, stood on this same platform (or one very like it) and...

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In the Footsteps of Our Families

(2) Comments | Posted 19 July 2014 | (00:00)

I'm about to embark on a project that I hope might be of as much interest to you as it will be to me.

It's called In the Footsteps of our Families. Together with my good friend, the American journalist Stu Seidel, a former senior editor at the US public...

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Scrap the BBC Licence Fee: Pay More, Get Less

(47) Comments | Posted 12 July 2014 | (00:00)

As a sales pitch, perhaps it leaves something to be desired. "Pay more, get less." Who could resist?

Yet for reasons that I have never understood, that's exactly what's on offer from those people who argue that it's time to scrap the BBC licence fee and switch to some form...

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Voices of Hate

(3) Comments | Posted 5 July 2014 | (00:00)

Ever since the discovery on Monday of the bodies of the murdered Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, and ever since the discovery on Wednesday of the body of the Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdair, murdered apparently in revenge, I have been hearing voices in my head.

...
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Something Is Rotten...

(5) Comments | Posted 28 June 2014 | (00:00)

What do you call an organisation, originally based in Sicily, that uses bribes and threats to buy influence and power?

Here's a clue: it begins with the letter M.

Here's another question: Whom did the Labour MP Tom Watson, at a parliamentary select committee hearing in November 2011,...

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Amira's Story

(1) Comments | Posted 21 June 2014 | (00:00)

Every night, when Amira goes to bed in the crowded room that she shares with her five young children, she lies awake, frantically worrying about what the following day has in store for them.

Will she be able to find food? Will the children be safe if they venture out,...

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Iraq - The End?

(14) Comments | Posted 14 June 2014 | (00:00)

What folly. What crass, indescribable, unbelievable folly it was to invade Iraq in 2003. I wonder what George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair think now as they read of the latest disasters to befall that wretched land.

Do they still say that Iraq is better off than it was...

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D-Day and Bergdahl: Thoughts on the Forgotten Casualties of War

(4) Comments | Posted 7 June 2014 | (00:00)

Twenty years ago this Friday, on the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, I was standing on a cliff-top overlooking the Normandy beaches on which so many men had died half a century earlier.

It was a deeply moving experience, looking down at the immaculately-choreographed ceremonies, and trying to...

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Immigration: No More Pandering to Prejudice

(389) Comments | Posted 31 May 2014 | (00:00)

Immigration is good. There, I've said it. Now I wait to be struck down by a thunder bolt.

A country that attracts immigrants is a healthy country. It boasts a growing economy, a stable society, and offers a safe environment for children to grow up in. Its people live under...

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A One-Night Fling With Nigel Farage

(24) Comments | Posted 23 May 2014 | (00:00)

I have been trying to imagine what it must feel like to have woken up this morning and remembered that yesterday, for the first time, you voted Ukip.

Probably, it felt like any morning after the night before. You've been eyeing up someone for quite a while, not your usual...

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What Will Mr Putin Do Next?

(2) Comments | Posted 9 May 2014 | (08:46)

Did President Putin just blink? And if he did, what did he mean by it?

He's good at being hard to read, is Mr Putin. And I suspect he rather enjoys it. So in Western capitals this weekend, after a bigger-than-usual Victory Day parade in Moscow, the question is...

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A Message for Ukip Voters

(81) Comments | Posted 3 May 2014 | (00:00)

Apparently Britain's mainstream political parties aren't quite sure how to deal with Nigel Farage and his rapidly-growing band of Ukip insurgents. Perhaps I can help.

Here, free of charge, is a suggested outline for all future speeches to be delivered by mainstream party politicians between now and next year's general...

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Six Years After Cyclone Nargis

(0) Comments | Posted 26 April 2014 | (00:00)

Next week will mark the sixth anniversary of Cyclone Nargis, which swept through the Irrawaddy Delta in Burma and killed at least 140,000 people. I've just been to the delta to see how the survivors have managed to rebuild their lives. This is what I found:

Tattered white strips of...

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When Countries Fall Apart

(2) Comments | Posted 19 April 2014 | (00:00)

It's beginning to look as if Ukraine, as currently constituted, is well on the way to becoming a non-functioning state. So let's ask the really difficult question: so what?

After all, it wouldn't be the first country to fall apart. Some do it relatively painlessly - take a bow, Czechoslovakia...

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Politician, Heal Thyself

(16) Comments | Posted 12 April 2014 | (00:00)

I have a very simple message for MPs after the events of the past few days: if you want to be respected, behave respectably.

If you don't want us to have contempt for you, don't behave contemptibly.

I mean, how difficult is it to behave like decent, law-abiding human beings?...

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Living in the Shadow of Genocide

(0) Comments | Posted 5 April 2014 | (00:00)

We live, 20 years after the murder of an estimated 800,000 people, in the shadow of Rwanda. And this weekend, on the anniversary of the start of the Rwanda genocide, is a good time to contemplate the significance of that shadow.

A tiny country, in the middle of Africa, less...

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Warning: Do Not Be Young

(2) Comments | Posted 28 March 2014 | (23:00)

More than 30 years ago, the soon-to-be Labour party leader Neil Kinnock warned voters not to fall ill, and not to grow old, if Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative party were returned to power in the 1983 general election.

It is usually forgotten that in that same speech - one...

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