The immigration man read my deportation order, looked at it and handed it back to me. ‘Are you Irish?’ he asked me. ‘No’ I said ‘as a matter of fact, I’m Yemenite Arab.’ Two detectives came forward who were evidently there to meet me.
‘Apparently he is Brendan Behan,’ they said. The immigration officer shook my hand and his hard face softened. ‘Cead mile failte romhat abhaile.’ (A hundred thousand welcomes home to you.) I could not answer.
There are no words and it would be impertinence to try. I walked down the gangway. I was free.
First published after Brendan Behan’s tragic death, Confessions of an Irish Rebel picks up where Borstal Boy left off. Not only is it the last instalment of a unique and unorthodox autobiography, but of a unique and unorthodox life that was as touched with genius as it was with doom.
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