I remember seeing my first gun battle. It was September 1979 and I was strolling through the streets of Beirut looking for somewhere to eat. Two cars collided. The occupants jumped out and started to argue. One produced a handgun, fired without warning and ducked down behind the bonnet of his car. The other opened his boot, pulled out a Kalashnikov and sprayed the other car’s windscreen with bullets. More cars arrived, gunmen emerged and a full-scale battle ensued. I remember everyone scattering and diving for cover but I just stood there transfixed. It was after all my first experience of war. Bullets ricocheted everywhere and the sound of police sirens echoed through the narrow streets. That’s when I saw the man beckoning me…