Tag Archives: Cold War


“Religion after all has a habit of bypassing all avenues of logic, insisting instead upon both giant leaps of faith and the defence of the utterly unprovable.”

Wayward Wolf.

Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS – Hell on Earth from hereon in – is a Sebastian Junger and Nick Quested-directed National Geographic documentary chronicling the tragic events that have befallen the people of Syria, and the knock-on Global effects that have unavoidably followed over the past decade or so.

You can tell that this is an American, National Geographic production. In amongst uncensored gratuitous scenes of dead bodies, scattered limbs, and general carnage, a small boy, out of his mind with grief and anger following another devastating bombing raid on his city, has his somewhat ‘expressive’ disapproval of the Syrian president edited – for swearing.

One can’t help but smile at the ludicrosity of it. Moments of levity such as this however are few and far between in this most harrowing account of what can only be described as an utter on-going nightmare.

The film analyses, in a very linear fashion, the events that led to the on-going civil war in Syria and how ultimately the fallout from that and International military intervention both there and in Iraq and Afghanistan has given rise to radical groups of Muslims hell-bent on imposing, through fear and force, their particularly unsavoury interpretation of Islam upon large swathes of the Middle East.

Watching this bleak but powerful film, one can’t help but be hugely affected by its devastating message, on a worryingly personal level. Previous generations in ‘The West’ have of course had their own set of explosive political issues to contend with. One thinks back to the 1980s and the fear of the Irish Republican Army, and of the cold war and its seemingly omnipresent threat of nuclear armageddon. Never though was it quite on the same sort of hysterical level that we see in the world today with the threat of ISIS and religion-influenced terrorism in general, very much a global concern.

However, unlike obstacles and threats to peace that were faced in the not too distant past, and for which there was at least some scope for negotiation, there is perhaps no negotiating with religious fanaticism. Religion after all has a habit of bypassing all avenues of logic, insisting instead upon both giant leaps of faith and the defence of the utterly unprovable.

A heady cocktail of corrupt regimes, the actions of insurgents, disenchanted and opportunistic religious fanaticism, and the meddling military intervention of Western super powers has not only brought the likes of Syria and Iraq to their knees, but heavily implicated much of the rest of the world into these troubles too both through subsequent unsustainable levels of mass immigration, and through vengeful terrorism in Allah’s name.

Indeed, regardless of who is doing the fighting, and whoever happens to be on the receiving end of it, Hell on Earth is awash with one constantly recurring sentiment: “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greater).

I should hope so too.

Mercilessly executing their fellow man as they go, some of those fighting in the prophet’s name are not exactly setting the bar very high.

It’s a big mess, that’s for sure, and one that’s very effectively and powerfully captured in Junger and Quested’s hard-hitting film. If there is a criticism to be made it is that a combination of information overload and the film’s very quick-fire pace and delivery make it rather difficult to absorb all content, effectively. Subsequent viewings may prove to be beneficial. On a similar note, the film’s brisk pace leaves little space and time to contemplate and ponder some of the more emotionally-charged and unsettling content – but perhaps that’s a good thing?

Benefiting from innumerable sources of both official and amateur video footage, as far as slick, informative, and relatively impartial documentaries go, Hell on Earth, though at times difficult viewing, successfully manages to capture this most troubling period in human history.










A very warm welcome to Wayward Wolf’s first ever guest writer.!

Introducing, Mr Parvez Siddiqui!

“This is my first review of any kind, and I would like to thank Hugh for asking me to contribute to his Wayward Wolf blog page”

OK, where to begin. I guess the place to start is the feeling of seeing a re-boot of an iconic show from the 60s. The sharp fashions and chemistry of Robert Vaughan and David McCallum as Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin was something that I remember as a child, and the kind of spy japes they used to get into, and then quite smoothly get out of again.

Knowing that Guy Richie was involved in directing this movie looked like it could be an exciting prospect, as he made a magnificent spectacle of the Sherlock Holmes universe, and to move into 60s spy chic would be uber-cool.

On opening, and the introduction of Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer in the lead roles was explosive, with a meeting over Checkpoint Charlie. They completely got my attention, and I settled in for a rollercoaster ride.

However, it turned out more rollercoaster like than I hoped, as it ended nearly as soon as it began.

The story seemed to weave in and out of finding people for information, and then promptly losing them again, and chasing around stunning European locations, with villains hot on their heels.

Cavill as Napoleon Solo looked exactly like Superman in a suit 2 sizes too small, which ironically is exactly what he was, and Hammer looked like a flat capped yokel with a decent Russian accent  Alicia Vikander shines as the female lead, who played her role in a sultry, smart and funny manner as the glue between the two guys. A mention should be made for Hugh Grant, but his involvement, like this sentence, was fleeting. If this is how the CIA and KGB collaborated during the Cold War period, then it’s of no wonder that it went on for so long.

If you’d like to see Europe as how it would have been in the 60s, then this is the movie for you. For me, I was looking at my watch 30 minutes after the film began, sighing, and thinking about the remaining time I had to sit in my seat, in which I got more restless as time passed.

I wanted much more from Guy Richie in this movie, because fashion style and looking good is not enough for any movie anymore, and I think he already knows this.

Next time I get on a rollercoaster, I would like to get off with a big smile on my face, and wanting to queue up to ride it again.