I have known Alan “Big Al” Bannerman since we played secondary school rugby together in the eighties. The odd seasonal greeting and birthday email had maintained a semblance of contact between us over the years. Even so, I was more than surprised when Big Al asked me, in my capacity as freelance writer and occasional contributor to the local rag, to chronicle the full, unexpurgated story of the case in which he became so famously ensnared.
Although the AQALAN Initiative has been covered extensively by the world news media, much of the reporting has been in the form of sensationalist front page headlining and politically motivated editorials. Lost in the fog of vested national and business interests, the very human stories behind the saga have never seen the light of day.
What follows is a full account of what the AQALAN Initiative was meant to be and how forces of evil were intent on its early demise. The disturbing events are told against the backdrop of the remarkable personal dramas of those who became caught up in the chilling war of ideology. People like Alan Roy Bannerman, for example.
My approach to this project has been one of pragmatism. Having held extensive interviews with many of the protagonists, I have preferred to incorporate their compelling testimonies directly into the script. It is a method which, I believe, brings the reader closer to both the story-teller and to the narrative.
In circumstances where it has not been possible to obtain first-hand witness statements, I have adopted a reasonable degree of assumption and extrapolation of known facts to reconstruct some of the scenes.
I trust this account does justice to those whose voices are unable to tell their side of the story.
Foreword from the Author
The AQALAN Initiative