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- Story of the Week: “A Death in the Desert”
- Mystery set in Baghdad- Death in a Desert Land – Andrew Wilson
Mexican government officials and human rights advocates say the soaring desert death toll is evidence of the failures, and some say cruelty, of recent United States border enforcement operations.
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Those operations have doubled the number of agents along the border, concentrating them in major urban areas like El Paso, San Diego, Brownsville and, most recently, the Arizona cities of Douglas and Nogales. But from Sasabe, population 3,, it is clear that the increase in agents along the United States side of the border has not stopped immigrants from their illegal crossings. It has caused them to cut new channels through more perilous areas. But he acknowledged that such solutions are a long way off. Officials of Grupo Beta, a Mexican agency created several years ago to protect the rights and security of immigrants, carry rehydration kits and antivenom medicines in their vehicles for emergencies.
They said they had rescued more than 1, immigrants this year. Specially trained units of the United States Border Patrol have made close to 2, rescues. In the town of Altar, the last stop in civilization for most migrants headed into the Arizona desert, churches have begun offering them free meals and residents have opened boarding houses where they can get a bit of rest before moving on. It is a dust bowl of a town off the highway to Tijuana. The tallest building is the church, where an altar is decorated with banners that read, ''This is a place where migrants are recognized and treated as brothers.
Residents of Altar said the downtrodden strangers began passing through a few years ago, arriving in twos and threes.
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Death in the Desert
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Story of the Week: “A Death in the Desert”
I did not answer immediately. Too many questions were crowding my head. I took a sip of iced soda water and gazed across the terrace of the hotel to the Tigris below. A lonely boatman was singing a queer, discordant song that brought back to me the ghosts of the past. At that time I had been in the midst of my own troubles, drowning in a sea of grief after the death of my mother, valiantly trying to hold together a marriage that was falling apart at the seams, battling a creative block that was driving me to the edge of reason.
A bottle of Dial tablets was found by her bedside at her house here in Baghdad.
Of course, no one wanted to draw attention to the fact that her death, or so it was thought, was a suicide. But then, just last month, these unsent two letters were discovered in a tin box that served as a place to store seeds. And he knew enough English to realize that the initials G.
Mystery set in Baghdad- Death in a Desert Land – Andrew Wilson
He did the right thing and took the letters to our man in Baghdad. Apparently, the drawing distressed him a great deal. He thought it represented some kind of curse. Reading about the discovery of the skeletons—which were thought to be victims of human sacrifice that dated to 2, years before the birth of Christ—had sent a chill through me. She was hardly the easiest of women to get along with. Headstrong—independent if one wants to be polite, bloody infuriating if one is speaking plainly.
Did you know her well? Her work for you at the Secret Intelligence Service or for any of the other covert government departments, for instance? Venerated and mummified by the ancient Egyptians, you know; a representation of Thoth. He managed to freeze his features into a mask of implacability before the skin on his cheeks started to turn pink, his eyes sparkled once more, and he burst into a loud fit of laughter. You looked like you wanted to slap me—or at the very least walk out of the hotel and take the first Orient Express back to London.
Although it would have been easy to do so, I decided not to embarrass Davison, and instead turned the conversation back to the current case. Miss Bell did work in secret intelligence during the war.
Because she had done all this traveling, trekking across the desert, gossiping with sheikhs over strong coffee, she had an unparalleled insight into certain alliances which would otherwise have remained obscure. What a stupid girl I had been.
At seventeen years old I had only been interested in romance—endless flirtations with dashing men in the three or four regiments stationed out there—and my appearance. And in two years instead of the usual three. She always seemed the most intelligent person in the room. That had its benefits, particularly for the department, but of course she was not the most subtle of individuals. Did she know anyone there?