Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Adam Hochschild on Kapuscinski's Magic Journalism

In his book on the fall of the Soviet Union, Ryszard Kapuscinski describes a visit he took to Armenia in 1990 to report on the worst of the many conflicts that erupted as the empire crumbled. The USSR was still officially one country, but Armenia and Azerbaijan were unofficially at war over the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inhabited largely by Armenians. The Soviets were attempting unsuccessfully to suppress the bitter guerrilla fighting there. Among other things, they were trying to keep inquisitive foreign journalists like Kapuscinski out of the besieged territory, which lies entirely within Azerbaijan, and can be reached from Armenia only by air.The Soviets control the airports at both ends. How can Kapuscinski get there? (...) GET HARD COPIES FROM ANNE SAKER

Magic Journalism By Adam Hochschild
from Finding the Trapdoor: Essays, Portraits, Travels
first appeared in The New York Review of Books, Nov. 3 1994

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