There Is No Cat

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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Stu Hughes is a funny man

I don't place all the blogs I read regularly in my blogroll because, well, I don't know why, I just don't, the list feels pretty long already and some sites don't feel like I'll want to link to them forever. But one that I think I'm going to have to add is Stuart Hughes' blog. Stuart is a BBC producer who was in Northern Iraq with correspondent Jim Muir when the team drove into a minefield. Stuart was relatively lucky; he only lost his foot and part of his leg. His colleague Kaveh Golestan wasn't so lucky; he died after apparently encountering the double whammy of an anti-personnel mine and an anti-tank mine just below it.

Anyway, Stuart is back in Wales now, has had his foot amputated, and is blogging the experience with remarkable humor:

I'd like you all to meet my new friend, Mr Stumpy. He looks a little scary at first but once you get to know him you'll see that he's actually real friendly. He prefers being calls a "residual limb" but I don't go in for all that PC crap.

Or this, on how he thinks he'll react to being treated as "disabled":

I never liked those toes very much anyway....but will they now define who I am? In the short term, almost certainly yes. For a while I'll be a "wheelchair user" and am fully expecting to shout, in a loud voice "I'M NOT MENTALLY RETARDED. I JUST HAD BY FOOT BLOWN OFF BY AN IRAQI LAND MINE. I HAVE A DEGREE AND EVERYTHING AND I'M LEARNING ARABIC" at people on more than one occasion in the coming weeks.

Then there's the (temporary) adjustment to life in a wheelchair:

Vicky came over from Bristol with a gift of fine Cuban cigars (US readers please note - I'm not supporting their economy, I'm burning their fields) and took me for a spin in Bute Park - my first outing beyond four hospital walls or the back garden. Very adventurous! It quickly became clear I need to trade in my wheelchair for a 4x4 model - mine's hopeless off-road. Typical NHS - when's New Labour going to start issuing SUV wheelchairs etc. etc. etc.

As for his colleague and friend the late Kaveh Golestan, Stuart points to photographs of his funeral in Iran. That site is devoted to portfolios of work by a number of Iranian photographers, including Golestan. It's clear he was a remarkable talent. I found his photographs incredibly moving. He really managed to capture something of the humanity of his subjects. His loss is a terrible loss.

Posted at 8:28 PM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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