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Albert Clack: stoicism in the face of misfortune

One could not help but like Albert Clack, even though at times he came across as an irritating and somewhat doctrinaire socialist. We worked together in the early 1970s in Latin America, fertile ground then for his political convictions. He was a helpful and generous colleague.

Bert, as he liked to be called, dealt stoically with a succession of life’s misfortunes, and he once told me that if he ever wrote an autobiography the title would be: “I started at the top and worked my way down!”

His expulsion from Fidel Castro’s Cuba was one of the low points. He was probably the only Marxist-leaning Western journalist to meet that fate. I tried to persuade him many years later to write about the experience, but he said he had moved on and did not want to stir up any ghosts. At the time, and perhaps rather unwisely, he had written about his expulsion under a pseudonym in the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Bert separated from his wife Carol in 1985. They had one son, Duncan. In 1998, he married Fazilet Hadi, who was a Director of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) for nearly 20 years. She herself is blind.

He suffered a serious bout of endocarditis in 2010 and said that every day afterwards was a precious gift. ■