By Eric Campbell
Award-winning international correspondent Eric Campbell has been stoned via fundamentalists, captured by way of US particular 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. through turns provocative and thoughtful, ABSURDISTAN is a memoir approximately juggling life, love and fatherhood whereas reporting from the most dysfunctional locations in the world.
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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. Life was hard in the tundra, but it was healthier than this. The festival began with wrestling matches followed by sled races. It was the one chance the nomads had to show off their skills to a wide audience and winning was a matter of fierce pride. Amoco’s prospective partner, the state gas monopoly, Gazprom, was supplying much sought-after prizes—snowmobiles and coloured beads.
Someone passed around a glass of vodka for us to share. Sven had warned us about the high rates of tuberculosis among the Nentsi so I pretended to sip and passed it on. Remembering what Sven had said about the impact of development, I asked how keen the people were for Amoco’s money. Nadia said she just wanted Amoco to go away. ‘They will take the land from us, and where will our children live? Not everyone wants to live in town. My son, for example, goes to school now, but when he grows up he won’t live in town.
I reached for my water bottle and found it had frozen solid inside my sleeping bag. I put my boots on and clambered outside. Just by the entrance, a woman was sawing off a hunk of frozen reindeer meat for breakfast. Tim was already up filming. ’ I croaked. ‘Really well,’ he said. ’ 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.
Absurdistan by Eric Campbell