- Taschenbuch: 336 Seiten
- Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: Reprint (9. April 2002)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0679779078
- ISBN-13: 978-0679779070
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,3 x 1,8 x 20,3 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 253.482 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Shadow of the Sun (Vintage International) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 9. April 2002
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When Africa makes international news, it is usually because war has broken out or some bizarre natural disaster has taken a large number of lives. Westerners are appallingly ignorant of Africa otherwise, a condition that the great Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuciñski helps remedy with this book based on observations gathered over more than four decades.
Kapuciñski first went to Africa in 1957, a time pregnant with possibilities as one country after another declared independence from the European colonial powers. Those powers, he writes, had "crammed the approximately ten thousand kingdoms, federations, and stateless but independent tribal associations that existed on this continent in the middle of the nineteenth century within the borders of barely forty colonies." When independence came, old interethnic rivalries, long suppressed, bubbled up to the surface, and the continent was consumed in little wars of obscure origin, from caste-based massacres in Rwanda and ideological conflicts in Ethiopia to hit-and-run skirmishes among Tuaregs and Bantus on the edge of the Sahara. With independence, too, came the warlords, whose power across the continent derives from the control of food, water, and other life-and-death resources, and whose struggles among one another fuel the continent's seemingly endless civil wars. When the warlords "decide that everything worthy of plunder has been extracted," Kapuciñski writes, wearily, they call a peace conference and are rewarded with credits and loans from the First World, which makes them richer and more powerful than ever, "because you can get significantly more from the World Bank than from your own starving kinsmen."
Constantly surprising and eye-opening, Kapuciñski's book teaches us much about contemporary events and recent history in Africa. It is also further evidence for why he is considered to be one of the best journalists at work today. --Gregory McNamee -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
“A highly detailed, heartfelt, but unsentimental introduction to Africa’s afflictions and a quiet love song to its profound appeal.” —The Wall Street Journal, Ryszard Kapuscinski (Author of The Emperor)
"The penetrating intelligence of Mr. Kapuscinski's vision and his knack for a kind of crystallized descriptive writing have never been on better display. . . . A marvel of humane, sorrowful and lucid observation." —The New York Times
“[Kapuscinski] has explored that sliver of high, thinly populated ground on which journalism and literature are occasionally joined. . . . A wise, engaging close-up filled with faces, landscapes, rutted roads, and the daily perils of African life." —BusinessWeek
“[Kapuscinski's] great strengths are his style--candid, understated and slightly absurdist, veering into abrupt flights of lyricism on unexpected subjects--and his gift for picking out stories, that condense volumes of information into a single perfectly crafted passage." —The Washington Post
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The present volume is an overview of his writing on Africa from 1958 to 1998. Unlike most writers on Africa, RK has always elected, perhaps also for lack of funds, to live in close contact with Africans, living in cheap accomodations and giving the diplomatic circuit a wide berth. His insight into what threatens Africa's progress and what spurs its people to continue to struggle for a better life, is awesome. True academics, professional friends and critics of Africa, should take some time out to read this collection, which is not entirely without small errors: plantations of rubber trees in Sudan? Bantu farmers in Mali? Also, it does not deeply address issues like the Cold War, problems resulting from debt and Western-imposed limitations on free trade, or domestic corruption.
However, RK has captured the soul of Africans living South of the Sahara better than anyone. Highly recommended.
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The time frame is post-Colonial Africa through the 1990's, reported by Poland's most celebrated foreign correspondent. Each chapter describes a different culture he visited, and extreme danger is inherent in every one. Determined to see the diversity of life, he risks his own life to get the story.
The idea put forth is that Colonialism reduced Africa from ten thousand cultures to fifty countries. Before foreign countries ruled and borders were drawn, tribes that wandered were able to. Tribes that were rooted to the earth stayed put. The occupation of Europeans destroyed the many different native cultures of Africa, and millions survive with only shade and water.
The stories are almost too much to take in. Man's inhumanity to man is shown in so many settings, in so many different ways, that the reader is left bereft.
Certainly, the great subject of SHADOW is dysfunction. Here, the types of this dysfunction, as well as their associated causes and effects, are depressingly familiar. In no particular order, these include greedy and unscrupulous elites, failed traditions and social structures, frequent coup d'états, ethnic hatreds, warlords, the legacies of slavery and colonialism, the paradox of international relief efforts, impoverished internal refugees, child soldiers with automatic weapons, and gargantuan urban areas without industry or jobs.
Kapuscinski's treatment of dysfunction is highly skillful. Primarily what he does is to write about dysfunction in a particular country at a particular time, often attaching a malaise or tragedy to a news story he covered in his thirty years of journalism in Africa. The effect is that these well-known problems are vitalized by Kapuscinski's direct encounters with them. Through his journalism, you are there to witness first-hand the effects of cupidity by the elites, brutality, or widespread joblessness. It's first-rate work.
Kapuscinski's second theme is the mentality of the people in sub-Sahara Africa. In this case, there's much to learn from Kapuscinski as he discusses the spiritual and communal traditions in this region. But the issue he implicitly raises in these discussions is: Do these traditions enable Africans to cope with modern life? Overwhelmingly, his answer is an unambiguous NO.
Kapuscinski's third theme is the heat. In writing about Somalia, for example, he observes: "These are the hottest places on earth... Daytime hours ... are a hell almost impossible to bear. All around, everything is burning... even the wind is ablaze... [in this] people grow still, silence descends, a lifeless overwhelming quiet." Likewise, a visit to a Mauritanian village elicits: "It was noon. In all the dwellings... lay silent, inert people. Their faces were bathed in sweat. The village was like a submarine at the bottom on the ocean; it was there, but it emitted no signals, soundless, motionless." The heat affects everything.
Kapuscinski does provide one upbeat chapter. This describes opportunistic entrepreneurship in the town of Onitsha (Nigeria), where men pull trucks from a sinkhole that is on the road to a huge open-air market. Nonetheless, the content of this book is mostly depressing. Malnourished people, he points out, protect themselves from the heat with their lassitude, since a person "...toiling, would grow weaker still and in exhaustion easily succumb to... tropical diseases. Life here is a struggle, an endlessly repeated effort to tilt in one's favor the fragile, flimsy, and shaky balance between survival and extinction."
Kapuscinski is a master of the genre, and takes advantage of every single line to meet his objective: To take you with him during his journeys.
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