Car 5

Miss Selima Haydir

Outward appearance

Nearly middle-aged, beaky woman, with neatly tied scarf over her head, wearing a suit that the Queen might wear: navy blue with white polka dots and a pleated skirt. Flicks through Introduction to Assessing Environmental Impact . The top of the pages have been stamped "University of the South Bank".

Carries an empty cloth bag. A printed panel on it shows a hand draped in the American flag holding a bouquet of Planet Earths. The Ninth International Conference of ... it says July 1995 . The main word is an unintelligible hippy logo.

Inside information

Well known Bosnian film critic. Selima's career has suffered a certain amount of disruption. Her father is prosperous and has paid for her to do a degree in safety in Britain.

What she is doing or thinking

Selima aches like a loose tooth that needs to come out. Her home city is under siege, the landscape of her childhood is being blown up. Is that Environmental Damage enough? Films bore her, everything makes her feel like a coward, safe, away.

And alone. Her English, which everyone told her was excellent, is fine on theoretical matters, but she doesn't know words like 'bicarbonate of soda' or 'mushrooms'. The embassy has no work for her. Her father has gone underground, and the Muslim men she meets are all Arabs. The bag is empty so that it can be filled with shopping, which she will eat alone. The conference it refers to is for Peace. It has not happened yet.

What she really wants to do is pick up a gun.

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