In today's Observer online, I found easily the best piece of journalism I have read for months. (I want to say: the best piece currently posted on the internet, but that would be silly, hyperbolic, and empirically incorrect, since there is no way I can have read the whole internet.)
It is about Equatorial Guinea. I am profoundly ashamed to say that, until I read this, I knew nothing of Equatorial Guinea. I should. I think everyone should. I don't want to do that awful righteous finger-waggy, more in sorrow than in anger thing to which we liberals are occasionally prone, if we have not had enough iron in our diet, but I do think some things should be known.
The piece is beautifully written, without fanfare or showboat. It is clean, and direct, and does not editorialise too much. It is everything that longform journalism should be. It is also profoundly shocking.
Journalism has taken a bit of battering lately, with the telephone hacking scandal and all. I hold the slightly unfashionable view that it may be an honourable profession, when it is done right. (I admit I am partial; some of my best friends are, or have been, journalists.) This piece proves why good journalism still matters.
I take all my hats off to Ian Birrell, who wrote it. You can find it here.