Winston’s Hiccup


“I think I’ll write a book today,” the writer Georges Simenon was said to tell his wife at breakfast. “Fine,” she would reply, “but what will you do in the afternoon?” Winston Churchill was similarly prolific, and not just in the field of letters [1]. In his later years, he liked to boast that in 1921 he created the British mandate of Trans-Jordan, the first incarnation of what still is the Kingdom of Jordan, “with the stroke of a pen, one Sunday afternoon in Cairo” [2]. Also like Simenon, Churchill wasn’t averse to the odd tipple, and according to some, that Sunday afternoon in Cairo followed a particularly liquid lunch. As a consequence, the then colonial secretary’s [3] penmanship proved a bit unsteady, allegedly producing a particularly erratic borderline. The result is still visible on today’s maps: the curious zigzag of the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

more from Frank Jacobs at The Opinionater here.