Paul Bergne Died

Who was he? The Guardian introduces him thus: "Paul Bergne, who has died aged 70 from cancer, was the British diplomatic and intelligence services' most talented linguist of his generation..." His numerous positions, which one might think falls short of his talent, are listed by The Independent as:
Ambassador to Uzbekistan 1993-95, and to Tajikistan 1994-95; principal research officer, Research and Analysis Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office 1995-96; OBE 1985, CBE 2002; staff, London Information Network on Conflicts and State Building 1998-2002; Specialist Adviser, House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee 1999-2000; Prime Minister's personal representative for Afghan Affairs 2001.

Well, there are a lot to say about him, but of his more publicly known achievements is noted to be his role in the peaceful aftermath following the capture of Kabul in 2001. His command on diverse languages, which has earned him the title of 'the most talented linguist of his generation', presented in The Times Online obituary, makes an intereseting reading into his character.

His skill with languages was remarkable enough in itself. He was fluent in German, modern Greek, Persian, Russian, Arabic and French, had passable Turkish, Uzbek and Italian, and could improvise in other languages linked to Persian and Turkish. Friends recall a Greek waiter’s refusal to accept that he was not himself Greek, or the surprise of a group of Tajiks whom he overheard and greeted in St Petersburg. When he entered his hotel room/embassy in Tashkent to find a “cleaner” rifling his files he asked her what she was doing; not looking up she replied, “It’s all right: he’s not back yet."

The photo is taken from the Times Online
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