Like many London residents, I have on occasion been known to curse Bob Crow, general secretary of the transport union RMT who has died at the cruelly early age of 52. I hate disruption to normal life, whether caused by strikes, spending cuts or bad weather.
Those were the words of a young French Muslim woman in Bordeaux, written in a card to her friend, Anissa, 22, the only daughter of an atheist Moroccan mother, and quoted by the news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.
Anissa had converted under her friend's influence, married a man introduced to her by an imam on Skype and headed for Syria. Females, some in only their mid-teens, have increasingly answered the call of extreme Islamists to play a part in a struggle that is against the West as much against as it is against the odious Assad regime.
The women and girls may serve as child minders or wives, or - as one moderate French imam told me - provide other kinds of "support", ie of a sexual nature, to male combatants fighting with groups detached from the mainstream rebels of the Free Syrian Army, supported by the West, and instead inspired by or linked to Al Qaeda.
If these young people return, they are suspected of posing a security threat to their countries of origin. Some of the combatants not return, because they choose to pursue their lives in the Muslim world or because they die in the conflict.
Dominique Bons is one mother who has suffered the grief of caused first by the departure of both her son, and his half-brother from a subsequent marriage and then the deaths of both of them in the space of a few months. I spoke to her:
Salut! regulars know I spare them as much as humanly possible contact with my passion for the ruffian-like sport of football. This weekend is different, as I explained to ESPN's worldwide audience ...
In 1973, as every schoolboy and these days a good many schoolgirls ought to know, Sunderland defied great odds to win the FA Cup as a club from a division one below the top flight, confronting then-mighty Leeds United.
One year ago today, David Cameron marked the first visit by a sitting British prime minister to the holiest Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar in Indian Punjab, by endorsing Winston Churchill’s condemnation of a “deeply shameful” event in colonial history.
My trainspotting era, you will be relieved to hear, ended rather a long time ago. Long enough for me to have forgotten which "streak", as the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) A4 locomotives were affectionately known, passed through Shildon station.
It's all been a bit quiet around here. I might have taken a close look at the Dieudonné row, with the added dimension of Nicolas Anelka's goalscoring gesture, or the Hollande-Trierweiler-Gayet triangle and the double, triple and quadruple standards we've seen. But since I was not writing about either professionally, both passed me by in terms of Salut! Here's a look at the current war of numbers between London and Paris ...
If only to keep the good ship Salut! afloat in troubled waters - by which I mean only that I have had no time to update the site - here is my latest piece for The National, Abu Dhabi ...
From Ramallah to Prague, officials moved swiftly to dismiss suggestions that the New Year’s death of the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic was anything sinister.
But as the diplomat’s daughter cast doubt on explanations that her father died in a bizarre accident, the manner of his death – reportedly caused by an old embassy safe exploding – recalled murky days of special operations blamed on Israeli agents in European cities and beyond.