My Week In Media: Clive Stafford Smith

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Last week I watched...

I watched a BBC2 documentary by Stephen Fry (right), about bipolar disorder. It was an amazing piece, for which I respect Fry all the more. I represent many clients with the disorder, including a man detained in Guantanamo, who is continuously interrogated, despite his conviction that the world is about to be destroyed by a snowball. Mental illness is, inexplicably, one of Britain's cultural taboos, so it was encouraging to see such an honest and insightful programme on the subject.

Last week I listened to...

Radio 4, and was thrilled to hear Gavin Esler's programme Letters from Guantanamo. It was the first programme about the matter that had no inaccuracies, for which I must praise producer Kate Taylor. It featured one of my clients, Sami Al Hajj, an Al Jazeera journalist, who is no more a terrorist than my grandmother. Most powerful was Al Hajj's reference to the Statue of Liberty and what a prison without laws means in terms of US justice.

Last week I read...

The Guardian has been dominated by the endless tedium of the Manchester conference. There wasn't a moment when people told the youth of the world why they should care. It's one of the major problems with politics today: nobody seeks to inspire anyone.

On the back page I noticed an image depicting Blair, with a barcode in the form of a Hitler-style moustache, customised by a group that is against ID cards. I wasn't sure whether to be amused or horrified. There is plenty of evidence of Blair veering towards totalitarianism, much that is more poignant than the proposed introduction of ID cards.

Last week I surfed ...

I've been researching the route for an annual literary walk that two friends and I have been doing for years. This year's theme is First World War poetry, and I arranged a 120-mile journey around the River Somme, which I researched on a great website that commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, at It offers tips on preparing for the journey, and ideas for related reading. A more official site, en, has a section dedicated to planning a trip around the battlefields, suggests how to make the most of the time, and gives details of tourist offices, the maps to use and lists a calendar of specific events.

Clive Stafford Smith is founder of Reprieve, the human rights charity that provides legal support for prisoners on Death Row and in Guantanamo Bay