I remember that during the period leading up to independence in Angola in 1975, I was the only correspondent there at all for three months.— Ryszard Kapuscinski
The most romantic Ryszard Kapuscinski quotes that are free to learn and impress others
I remember in 1978 meeting two Ugandan captains in the hotel talking Russian.
They had been educated in Moscow and since they came from different Ugandan peoples, it was the only way they could understand one another.
The official independence celebration was going to be held over four or five days, and a group of journalists from all over the world was allowed to fly in, because Angola was closed otherwise.
Money changes all the iron rules into rubber bands.
Money changes all the iron rules into rubber bands.
My writing is a combination of three elements.
The first is travel: not travel like a tourist, but travel as exploration. The second is reading literature on the subject. The third is reflection.
The tradition of Russian literature is also an eastern tradition of learning poetry and prose by heart.
Amin is the shame of the whole world.
The fact that he managed to rule so long and commit so many crimes was only possible thanks to the hypocrisy of the East and the West who were waging the Cold War for world domination.
In the First World War, there was the sudden passion of nationalism, and the killing took place because of these emotions. But the Soviet case is different, because you had systematic murder, like the Holocaust.
Our salvation is in striving to achieve what we know we'll never achieve.
First you destroy those who create values.
Then you destroy those who know what the values are, and who also know that those destroyed before were in fact the creators of values. But real barbarism begins when no one can any longer judge or know that what he does is barbaric.
When man meets an obstacle he can't destroy, he destroys himself.
Although a system may cease to exist in the legal sense or as a structure of power, its values (or anti-values), its philosophy, its teachings remain in us. They rule our thinking, our conduct, our attitude to others. The situation is a demonic paradox: we have toppled the system but we still carry its genes.
In Poland a man must be one thing: white or black, here or there, with us or against us -- clearly, openly, without hesitations. . . . We lack the liberal, democratic tradition rich in all its gradations. We have instead the tradition of struggle: the extreme situation, the final gesture.
if reason ruled the world would history even exist?
In order to feel contempt, you generally need to cherish some kind of feelings.
Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.
More than anything, one is struck by the light.
Light everywhere. Brightness everywhere. Everywhere, the sun.
The continent is too large to describe.
It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say 'Africa'. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.
When is a crisis reached? When questions arise that can't be answered.
There is a lack of critical assessment of the past.
But you have to understand that the current ruling elite is actually the old ruling elite. So they are incapable of a self-critical approach to the past.
Our job is like a baker's work -- his rolls are tasty as long as they're fresh;
after two days they're stale; after a week, they're covered with mould and fit only to be thrown out.
We follow the mystics. They know where they are going. They, too, go astray, but when they go astray they do so in a way that is mystical, dark, and mysterious.
The Cold War was waged in a particularly brutal and cynical way in Africa, and Africa seemed powerless to do anything to stop it.
The Cold War in Africa is one of the darkest, most disgraceful pages in contemporary history, and everybody ought to be ashamed.
In a society of little economic development, universal inactivity accompanies universal poverty. You survive not by struggling against nature, or by increasing production, or by relentless labor; instead you survive by expending as little energy as possible, by striving constantly to achieve a state of immobility.
Amin knew that neither West nor East would criticize him for fear that he would support the other side. He felt he was untouchable and he said so openly.
I'm trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing.
In modern Russia, you have no official, formal assessment of this past.
Nobody in any Russian document has said that the policy of the Soviet government was criminal, that it was terrible. No one has ever said this.
Do not be misled by the fact that you are at liberty and relatively free;
that for the moment you are not under lock and key: you have simply been granted a reprieve.
Be careful: they have arms, and no alternatives.
He killed his enemies because he was afraid they would kill him.
Amin ordered entire tribes to be put to death, because he feared they would rebel.
This is the most intimate relationship between literature and its readers: they treat the text as a part of themselves, as a possession.
The extent of one man's guilt may be defined by how much of it is experienced by the party he injured.
In the Russian experience, although the Russian state is oppressive, it is their state, it is part of their fabric, and so the relation between Russian citizens and their state is complicated.
The so-called new Russian man is characterized mainly by his complete exhaustion. You may find yourself wondering if he has the strength to enjoy his new-found freedom. He is like a long-distance runner who, on reaching the finishing line, is incapable even of raising his hands in a gesture of victory.
In the tropics the white feels weakened, or downright weak, whence comes the heightened tendency to outbursts of aggression. People who are polite, modest or even humble in Europe fall easily into a rage here, get into fights, destroy other people. . .
There is a fundamental difference between the Polish experience of the state and the Russian experience. In the Polish experience, the state was always a foreign power. So, to hate the state was a patriotic act.
Underground literature only began in the '70s, when technical developments made it possible. Before that, we were involved in a game with the censors. That was our struggle.
Amin hid nothing. Everybody knew everything. Yet the American Senate only introduced a resolution breaking off trade with Amin three months before his overthrow.
in reference to Persepolis and all palaces, cities and temples of the past: could these wonders have come into being without that suffering? without the overseer's whip, the slave's fear, the ruler's vanity? was not the monumentality of past epochs created by that which is negative and evil in man?
Literature seemed to be everything then.
People looked to it for the strength to live, for guidance, for revelation.
Amin managed to invite both the US and Soviet ambassadors to his palace at the very same time and then deliberately kept them together in his waiting room.
How do cultures differ from one another? Above all, in their customs.
Tell me how you dress, how you act, what are your habits, which gods you honor, and I will tell you who you are. Man not only creates culture, he carries it around with him. Man is culture.
I'll tell you what colonial experience is.
We have such a mixture now, such a fusion of different genres.
A population weakened and exhausted by battling against so many obstacles -- whose needs are never satisfied and desires never fulfilled -- is vulnerable to manipulation and regimentation. The struggle for survival is, above all, an exercise that is hugely time-consuming, absorbing and debilitating. If you create these anti-conditions, your rule is guaranteed for a hundred years.
Most correspondents came from the former colonial powers - there were British, French, and a lot of Italians, because there were a lot of Italian communities there. And of course there were a lot of Russians.
Photographing expresses human desire to preserve passing time.
It is like a man struggling with time that elapses, and in general - a desire to preserve oneself.
Conditions were so hard. To send the news out, telex was the only means, but telex was very rare in Africa. So if somebody was flying to Europe, we gave him correspondence to send after he arrived.
Readership was high, and very attentive. It was people's only source of knowledge about the world.