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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Day of the Jackal


Everyone has seen the movie The Day of the Jackal, based on a thriller novel by English writer Frederick Forsyth, about a professional assassin who is contracted by the OAS, a French dissident paramilitary organisation, to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

I watched the movie more than once, and also read the book, and, yes, the OAS did exist and both the book and the movie accurately depict the attempt on the life of President de Gaulle, but the subsequent plot is fiction. But there was a young Venezuelan known as "Carlos The Jackal", real name Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who blithely lobbed a grenade into a crowded cafe in Paris, attempted to assassinate the President of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, seized the French Embassy in Holland, and launched two rocket attacks on planes at Orly airport. His crimes were apparently endless and he went on to kidnap several OPEC ministers in Vienna.

David Yallop's book To the Ends of the Earth - The Hunt for the Jackal is a sprawling 575-page epic which takes you on a journey into the frightening world of terrorism, espionage and Middle Eastern politics. It should be required reading for anybody who saw the movie. I am reading it right now and I can hardly put it down.