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Graham Holderness and Bryan Loughrey

On Saturday 19 March, 2005, Omar Ahmed Abdullah Ali tidied his

workstation at Qatar Petroleum and shut down his computer for the

last time. There were very few people in the offi ce that day, and none

of them noticed anything unusual about his behaviour. They recalled

him afterwards as ‘a decent man’, a family man whose wife had, only

a month before, given birth to their third child.

Earlier that morning the 38-year old Egyptian computer programmer

had said goodbye to Umm Abdullah and his three children quite

normally, as if nothing unusual were about to occur. I am not what

I am. Now he left the offi ce quietly, unassumingly, attracting no

attention, and went to collect his black Land Cruiser from the company

car park. Driving slowly and carefully, he pulled the car onto the road

and headed towards the Doha suburb of Fariq Kalaib.

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Bryan Loughrey and Graham Holderness

This issue of Critical Survey inaugurates a new chapter in the history of the journal. Founded in 1962 by Brian Cox and Tony Dyson, the journal formed a complement to its sibling Critical Quarterly, publishing creative as well as critical work, and targeted at staff and students in both secondary and tertiary education. Critical Survey ceased publication in 1979, and was re-launched in 1989 under the editorship of Bryan Loughrey, who has now returned as joint Editor with Graham Holderness (formerly General Editor). A new Poetry Editor Ben Parker joins our long-serving colleague John Lucas to manage the Poetry section. We would like to take this opportunity to record our thanks to the distinguished succession of University of Hertfordshire Literature staff who served as Editors between 1992 and 2015 – Professor Andrew Murphy, Dr Carol Banks, Professor Sharon Monteith and Dr Andrew Maunder.