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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.
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.
Money changes all the iron rules into rubber bands.
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.
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.
World War I quotes
In order to feel contempt, you generally need to cherish some kind of feelings.
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.
I'm trying to put more elements of the essay into my writing.
I'll tell you what colonial experience is.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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