My slight personal experience of arrest for political reasons has suggested to me that it as often partakes of the quality of farce as of tragedy. I was once arrested as a South African spy in Gabon, but my captor released me in return for a prescription for the syphilis from which he was suffering; I was deported under armed guard from Honduras to Sandinista Nicaragua because it was supposed that anyone who had so many books from El Salvador with him must be an inveterate enemy of Honduras (I had fondly supposed that one of the few advantages of deportation was free travel, but in fact I had to pay for my own escort); and I learned the principles of Balkan policing in a cell in Albania, where I was arrested for trying to photograph the police wading into a demonstration by communists, truncheons flying. I owed my swift release to the fact that I had lunched with a government minister shortly before, but I still didn’t get my camera back. And for the...


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