The Madness: A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD from Sunday Times Bestselling Author and BBC Correspondent Fergal Keane
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What does recovery look like for him? “It’s a matter of figuring out those boundaries and working on them. You should never not have an emotional reaction to something that is moving but you can’t let it take you over. And that’s what I’m working on. You can empathise but there’s a limit to what you can do and it doesn’t belong to you ... I think the basics would be to keep my promise: no war zones ... And it means loving life, spending time with friends, playing music.” And yet he continued to return to war zones. He believes that he is, to some extent, “addicted to war”. “If you’re a drug addict or an alcoholic killing yourself people will say, ‘Oh, my God, stop.’ War is the only addiction that people will come up to you and say, ‘That was brilliant’.” Martha Gellhorn. There’s a sense of empathy and of being present with people that really moves me. I was going to say Ryszard Kapuściński, but though he writes magnificently, I’m not sure how much of it I can believe.
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In Rwanda the thing that troubled him most was encountering a group of people seeking sanctuary at a prefecture, people who were likely subsequently murdered. It tormented him that there was something he might have done to protect them, though it was by no means clear how. It wasn’t even clear that his own crew would escape violence. “Everybody I know who went [to Rwanda] was, if not damaged by it, certainly hurt by it.” When Fergal returned home from Rwanda, he started having nightmares– upsetting and frightening dreams. It was obvious he was traumatised from the violence he had seen, but still Fergal didn’t go to a psychiatrist – a medical doctor who specialises in treating mental illness. Another book that left me with this level of discomfort and unease was Francisco Cantú’s The Line Becomes A River. Another book filled with immense intensity. To me, it’s unfathomable what people are capable of. And continue to be capable of.
Lindsay, a BBC journalist, writes the opening chapter — Hard Cover; his story from Ardoyne in north Belfast on 12 July 2005 — one of those days in the city when parade and protest meet.
The Madness By Fergal Keane | Used | 9780008420437 | World of The Madness By Fergal Keane | Used | 9780008420437 | World of
He looks haunted. His eyes fill with tears and he has difficulty talking for a moment. “You feel like a bit of a freak,” he says quietly.
David McIlveen, described as “simply one of the outstanding camera journalists of his generation”, takes us inside the Royal London Hospital during the Covid pandemic; different from international assignments: MyHome.ie (Opens in new window) • Top 1000 • The Gloss (Opens in new window) • Recruit Ireland (Opens in new window) • Irish Times Training (Opens in new window)
The Madness: A Memoir of War, Fear and PTSD from Sunday Times
I think about all of that in the context of the conflict in the North and, then, on its roads to an imperfect peace. He dives into his family history for the roots of his twin addiction – to alcohol and war reporting. His father was a talented actor, but alcoholic and sometimes violent. His father cast a long shadow in his childhood.and I began to have nightmares of Rwanda. And of course, at that stage, you know, it was obvious that I was traumatised but, again, did I go to a psychiatrist? No, I didn't. I kept doing the job. I can visualise him writing it. Hear him reading it. Agonising. Trying to let it go. But, go to where? I made this film in Ukraine, with the women of Bucha [about Russian atrocities in the city]. One of them really wanted to do the interview and she got quite upset during it. Afterwards, I hated myself. I really did. Which, I suppose, begs the question, why am I still doing that?”