One of most enduring political slogans of recent times is that something as simple as grafitti can lead to murder. It ascribes itself to a “quality of life” or “broken windows” theory of policing, whereby grafitti, or spitting on the street, or littering, is the first link in a criminal chain that eventually ends up in murder.
Dawn arrives with light in the window. There is no curtain. Out, through the prison bars, I see a row of rooftops. The TV aerials sit sideways, as if blown drunk by the wind. Like all prison cells, it seems, there are birds outside the window, and moving shadows, and distant traffic, which sounds faintly like a river. I can hear movement in the corridor outside my cell. The ceiling is inches from my eyes. Jumping to the cold floor, one is immediately reminded of what it might mean to be incarcerated. No toilet. No sink.
Five years on, the world continues to shake in the aftermath
of 11 September. But Oliver Stone's World Trade Center reminds us that this one day was also about ordinary people trying to survive, says Colum McCann
The longer I live in Ireland the more inclined I am to take issue with the observation about patriotism and scoundrels: patriotism is not the last refuge of the scoundrel it's the first. The same green-draped bolt-hole accommodates, as a first resort, bigots, crooks, weasel politicians and various other "popular" figures. Only property developers, and members of the Donnybrook Set, and Sunday World's splendid team of writers seem immune, and therefore refreshingly honest.