Absurdistan by Eric Campbell

By Eric Campbell

Award-winning overseas correspondent Eric Campbell has been stoned via fundamentalists, captured by means of US designated 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 used to be 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 essentially the most dysfunctional locations on the earth.

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Suddenly, it felt wonderful to be here. The sky was a brilliant blue, the snow pure white. We were in the middle of nowhere in a nomad camp watching Nentsi herders lassoing reindeer. I walked around the camp in awe of what I was seeing, with the snow crunching under my feet. The most remarkable thing about the Nentsi was how they had managed to preserve their way of life during the brutal conformity of Soviet times. The literature I had read about the Nentsi made for dispiriting reading. Under the forced collectivisation of the 1930s, the Communists rounded them up from their remote grazing lands and herded them into newly established and completely unviable Arctic towns.

His father and grandfather had been sent to the camps in World War II for nothing more than being ethnic Germans. Their ancestors had settled on the Volga River more than two centuries earlier, at the time of Peter the Great. But when the Nazis invaded in 1941, Stalin regarded anyone with a German surname as suspect. Volodja had little interest in the past. He just wanted to feed his family. ‘Our mine is not so bad; we only wait for two months for our salaries. Different mines pay their workers on different days, and we borrow money from each other.

I met you yesterday. Do you remember my cameraman, Paul? ’ He said something about being sorry and asked if he could help me but I was seeing the explosion again and it overpowered everything. We had been the last to drive to the militants’ base after the Americans bombed it because we wanted to be sure it was safe. That made us the last ones there. In another minute we would have been gone. Paul was getting some last shots of civilians driving out. He walked a few steps in front of me following some action when a car pulled up beside him and blew up.

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