Absurdistan by Eric Campbell

By Eric Campbell

Award-winning international correspondent Eric Campbell has been stoned through fundamentalists, captured by means of US distinct Forces, arrested in Serbia and threatened with expulsion from China. He′s negotiated courting rituals in Moscow, shared a home with a charismatic mercenary in Kabul and brought up smoking at gunpoint in Kosovo. In 2003 in Iraq he was once injured in a suicide bombing which killed his colleague, cameraman Paul Moran. via turns provocative and thoughtful, ABSURDISTAN is a memoir approximately juggling life, love and fatherhood whereas reporting from probably the most dysfunctional locations in the world.

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He was a big man with a big moustache who still had a miner’s muscles. A back injury from a mine accident had left him unemployable. But he hadn’t lost a black sense of humour. The small kitchen, which had become his office, was dominated by a large bust of Lenin. Vladimir had stuck a German army helmet on its head and painted its face with the stars and stripes of the US flag. Unlike many of the miners, he hated the Communists as much as he hated Yeltsin. ‘There’s no difference between them. Eighty-six per cent of Yeltsin’s administration are former Communist Party members,’ he said.

But Timofei had been through this before. ‘We had an Englishman come out to study us once,’ he said. ‘He didn’t speak a word of Russian. ’ This wasn’t quite the welcome we were hoping for. ‘We can pay you,’ Robert said. They were the magic words. Timofei agreed. We went back to the guesthouse and put on every item of thermal clothing we had. I layered up with two sets of neck-to-knee underwear, two pairs of woollen socks, one jumper, two fleeces, a thick down jacket, gloves, mittens and a fur hat.

I think they’ve got some bargaining to do. But I think the local people realise that they’ve got to have economic support. They want their kids to go to school, they want to improve the towns they have. ’ Walking through Yar Sale’s streets, the benefits of development didn’t seem so clear cut. The Nentsi living in town were very different from the nomads. Most of the men were alcoholics and, to celebrate the festival, they had gone on blinders and now reeled around drunkenly or lay unconscious in the snow.

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