Monday, 30 November -0001

Radio Review: 12 June

Unintentional comedy and dreadful, real-life drama…

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-colour-176Listening to the BBC World Service the other day as I shifted furniture, I heard one of the funniest things to cross my lugholes in ages, followed by one of the most sobering and harrowing.

The hilarity came as a result of Nick Bryant’s report in Outside Source on FIFA bigwig Chuck Blazer admitting to accepting bribes. ‘For the last three years,’ said Bryant, ‘this businessman with a love of parrots has been singing like a canary.’ It’s those seven words that caused collapse of stout party: ‘this businessman with a love of parrots’.

Never mind that it’s a set-up for a very tenuous punning link. It’s still Python meets On The Hour, and I applaud it. I’d describe it as unintentionally funny, but I have an inkling that Bryant chuckled to himself as he wrote his script. I had to stop and put down the cabinet I was moving to avoid rupturing myself laughing.

Then, changing gear, the always excellent Outlook opened with Jo Fidgen interviewing Pakistani human rights lawyer Hina Jilani. The conversation turned to Samia Sarwar, a woman who wanted to divorce her abusive husband. Sarwar was murdered in Jilani’s office by a man posing as her own disabled mother’s carer, needed to get the mother to the meeting. Jilani told how, once the evil deed was done, the woman (Samia’s mother) left the office with no obvious difficulty. I had to stop what I was doing again, but this time for a different reason.

Powerful stuff, and Fidgen pointed out the enormous personal danger facing Jilani herself as a result of her work, but Jilani was matter-of-fact and a model of lawyerly precision about it. Some refer to Sarwar’s death as an ‘honour killing’. The term is a misnomer. There is no honour in what Sarwar’s family did.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email:

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