IMG_3610Pivaro was born in the Harpurhey area of  North Manchester and thereafter lived in several districts of Manchester and Salford including Ordsall, Swinton, Chorlton, Worsley and Weaste where he attended local Schools until he was 16.

At secondary modern school he proved to be an academic underachiever despite a keen interest in History, Human Geography and an understanding of current affairs well beyond his years.

Subsequently leaving school with few qualifications he worked in various manual jobs including  at a  railway freight yard and unloading containers into dock warehouses though simultaneously pursuing a love of acting by involving himself in amateur and youth theatre.

At 19 he won a place at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in London.

Following his time at RADA his first professional acting role was at the Theatre Royal Stratford, London which was the start of nearly twenty years of Theatre and Television roles that saw him perform in theatres in nearly every major town and city in the UK from Aberdeen to Bristol.

In 1983 he created the role of Terry Duckworth in Coronation Street appearing as a regular until 1988 in nearly 400 episodes.

It was Pivaro’s decision to leave the show to pursue his own stage project and further theatre work. These included roles in The Tempest, A Taste of Honey, What the Butler Saw, Funny Peculiar, Bouncers, A View From the Bridge and. several new plays.

One play ‘No Further Cause for Concern’ was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival for best new production at the Fringe.

1n 1992 he returned to his role in Coronation Street and has made regular returns to the show even as recently as 2012,

In 1999 a serendipitous car journey took him past a giant bill board plastered across a faculty building of the University of Salford boldly stating “it’s never too late to study.

”Considering his first love of Politics, History and Current Affairs he decided to take up the challenge and following a successful interview entered the University enrolled on its inaugural Contemporary Military History degree course.

University life was initially a struggle.

Never having switched on a PC on which all university work had to be submitted Pivaro recalled “I could not master a computer or Word, I have to say in the initial year I relied on the help and patience of many of the other students who had grown up with computers.”

“Conversely the only computer my generation was familiar with in school class was an abacus!

Persevering Nigel eventually earned an upper first second class degree and then elected to study for a Masters degree in International Relations at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. Aberystwyth was the first university to initiate IR study following the intervention of US President Woodrow Wilson after the First World War.

Specialising in ‘Terrorism’ and its utility by State and non state actors alike, Pivaro graduated in 2005 producing his dissertation  into the causes around the rise of the Provsional IRA.

Following graduation Pivaro pursued a new career as a journalist working with the Manchester Evening News and getting his first front page ‘splash’ only 3 weeks later.

A post grad NCCT fast track course in Journalism was rewarded with a staff job at the Tameside Reporter a respected paid for weekly covering East Manchester and the borough of Tameside that includes the towns of Ashton, Stalybridge and Hyde.

While working at the paper he also managed to research write and present a documentary on the downside of Housing Market Renewal.

Entitled the Regeneration Game for BBC 1 the programme was nominated for a Royal Television Society award in 2008 in the best documentary section and was beaten to the award by Panorama.

Three more documentaries followed for the BBC ‘Inside Out’ series between 2007 and 2009.

In the meantime Pivaro left the Tameside Reporter in 2008 to work freelance mainly with the Daily Star Sunday newspaper.

In 2010 Pivaro went to live and travel in Turkey fulfilling a lifelong fascination with what used to be called the Near East.

He was convinced that Turkey would provide an avalanche of stories due to the tensions and fault lines inherent in Turkish political life and society.

Identifying the conflict between the Islamic government and the avowedly secular Military he expected the two sides to meet head on any time soon with at least a coup or coup attempt.

Encouraged by the disclosure of plans for a military coup   uncovered in the exposure of ‘Operation Balyoz’ plot Pivaro travelled around Turkey for 6 months to understand what he felt sure would be the forthcoming conflict.

The expected conflict did not materialise, not in open form at least.

The ruling AK government masterfully picked of the military plotters from the bottom up with the support of the Jandarma ( Police)

The Military blinked first as they accepted the arrest of the middle raking members of the plot hoping perhaps to pick another moment to execute their takeover plans

Meantime the Islamic AK party skillfully led by Tayyip Erdogan, utilised the popular press and TV media to condemn and isolate the Army and its plots, characterising them as a return to the bad old days of military interference in politics.

A new Turkey was emerging one which promoted democracy and expected entry into the EU and the military had to be kept in its proper place.

The Majority of Turks including many in the Military and the Jandarma reasoned that the EU would never accept a non democratic Turkey into the EU.

Despite the world financial crisis, Turkey’s economy was growing and living standards were increasing beyond the expectations of most ordinary Turks.

Only die hard Kemalists and the Army high command were prepared to rock the boat it seemed

As the situation in Turkey stabilised Pivaro returned home to continue freelancing still keeping a wary eye on Turkey.

Six months later historic changes were sweeping the whole Islamic rim of the South and Eastern Mediterranean from Tunisia to Egypt.

Turkey remained stable with the AK Party consolidating its position even further with the more senior generals now under arrest

Amidst all the chaos Turkey’s government seemed like a shining of example of Islamic democracy a beacon to which other pre dominantly Islamic countries in the throes of revoluions could aspire.

As the Arab Spring continued, Turkey preened itself as the bridge between Islam and the West basquing in its new role on the world stage.

A policy which it dubbed as New Ottamanism

New Ottamanism started to rise as progress acquiring EU membership was continually thwarted and frustrated on the EUs demands for further reforms and transparency.

The emerging policy served as an alternative to the constants snubs from the EU and deeper involvement with Turkeys’   Arab neighbours. .

Syria meanwhile had remained quiet and stable, but at an art gallery on the Manchester Salford border, Pivaro met two Syrian dissidents who told him the revolution starts in Syria in 10 days time on Friday, March, 15 in Damascus.

As it emerged, Haytham (who had spent 4 years in an Assad prison) was out by a day as events overtook the planned demonstration  in Damascus as several school age children were rounded up by Assad’s Secret Service in  the town of Daara following local protests.

The children’s crime? Writing graffiti criticising the president and the regime.

For this they were tortured and imprisoned sparking demonstrations as their Kin folk in Darra marched for their safe return.

When they were not returned (some because they were dead as a result of horrendous tor ture) protest in the town increased followed by regime repression and further protests.

Nigel remembers “I Obviously began to cultivate  my sources and learnt more of Syria its history and society.

“I eventually travelled out to Northern Syria in June 2012 then returned in October 2012 using the Turkish South Eastern province of Hatay as a jumping off point for Idlib province in Syria.”

“This allowed me to produce several major articles for the Catholic Herald and for the Sunday Mirror.”

Subsequently the Syrian Civil War has become more protracted and  inevitably the suffering of the civilian population deeper. The displacement of  up to 8 million Syrians both internally and in neighbouring countries is threatening the stability and peace of countries that have taken large numbers of Syrian refugees not least Turkey and Lebanon.

These counties are particularly vulnerable because in many ways their populations mirror the ethnic divide in the Syrian conflict.

Hatay has a Sunni and Alevi population Lebanon  is divided by Sunni and Shia who are similar to the Allawite and Alevi populations supporting the Assad Regime.

Lebanon also has a large Christian population, who like the Shia and Alevi / Allawites are fearful of becoming further isolated islands in a greater Sunni Lake,

Pivaro will be returning to the area hoping to despatch further articles intending to use this blog to post comments, observations and information about the situation as he personally finds and sees it.

Of this blog he says; “I reserve the right to be wrong (we are human after all) and to change my opinion about situations and events.

“The blogs purpose will be to furnish those with an interest in trends and events in the subjects of conflict and security providing an original perspective differentiating from agency led newspaper reporting.

Ideally the blog will provide a forum where readers can ask questions or give expression to their own opinions and experiences.

Since returning to the UK, Turkey and the survival of her AK government have come into question. (Military Coup  attemptJuly 2016)

The fallout from further calamity in the region will have far reaching security implications and consequences across Europe.

In 2014 Nigel visited the Donbas region of Ukraine reporting on the conflict there with articles published in The Daily Mirror, Die Zeit and Jane’s Defence Review.

A good reason to join me and my blog…”