Bit of rest, bit of writing in Thailand.
|Vltchek's World in Words and Images||
August 2-8, 2017
I flew to California for just a few days, to visit my dear friend John Cobb Jr, a 92 years old philosopher, theologian and environmentalist. We first met in North Korean and two years later I came to Claremont to speak at Whiteheadian philosophical conference which John had arranged.
John and his colleagues greatly influenced China’s President Xi and his very important project - “Ecological Civilization”.
This time I went to California to discuss philosophy, religions and environment with John. Despite a repulsive work delivered by a boozing Czech cameraman whom I mistakenly hired, our discussion was later edited in Lebanon into a 90 minutes film and next year will be published as a book.
July - August 2017
Lebanon! What can I say... As always... tremendous music festivals at historic sites, fortified borders with Israel, wealth and misery, beauty and despair...
June 29 - July 4, 2017
As one of few foreigners I made it to besieged city of Marawi in the Philippines (Mindanao Island). Once I was arrested, detained on a military base by pro-Western, anti-Duterte officers. Manila had to intervene... I witnessed fighting and I saw the city taken over by jihadi cadres. I also witnessed decisive fighting of the army and government relief operations.
June 13-22, 2017
This time my work in Afghanistan was tough - very tough!
I began filming.
I often drove alone, only with my driver, interpreter and dear friend... no protection, no security whatsoever. We went to Afghan-Pakistani border where fighting was going on. We went to Jalalabad, to Taliban occupied villages, and to drug-infested slums of Kabul. We went back to Bagram U.S. air force base, to film this monstrous place surrounded by poppy seed fields.
We went to the places where Soviet water pipelines and irrigation canals are still saving lives. We talked to people who remember Soviet people with nostalgia and love.
Oh Afghanistan! What a beauty! What a devastation by brutal, merciless NATO occupation!
I had to revisit great Afghan architectural monument Qutb Minar right outside New Delhi, before departing
for Afghanistan. I had to go to old Islamic Delhi to think. And I met, after several years, my dear friend Satya,
an Indian thinker.
May 19-29, 2017
Intensive short visit to Indonesia. Huge stories that I covered there:
Investigation of what I call “Washington's Jihadi Express” - how Indonesian jihadi cadres went to fight to Afghanistan, helping to destroy both Soviet Union and Afghanistan itself... How they returned home and scarred several parts of Indonesia including Poso and Ambon... and how they embarked on training new generation of Indonesian cadres who were later sent to Syria and the Philippines.
I began my work in Borneo, known in Indonesia as Kalimantan. This biggest islands of Asia is now fully devastated, logged out and mined out by multi-national and local companies. Almost nothing is left. Indonesian cannibalistic capitalism is one of the most brutal and extreme in the world.
I also ran a story from Bali, where U.S. President Donald Trump is developing his 6 star golf resort near iconic
Tanah Lot Hindu temple, firing staff of previous hotel, ruining lives of tens of thousands of people.
April 29-30, 2017
One short mad dash to Cairo before returning to Asia Pacific. Some of my friends revolutionary doctors are in jail or in exiled, people disappeared and tortured. My visit coincided with that of the Pope. I wrote some sarcastic stuff on the subject. In Egypt, Christians supported the military coup from the onset. It was great to get out of there. Vile place, these days.
Lebanon, April 18-29, 2017
Back to Lebanon for some very heavy work at the border with Israel, in Hezbollah areas, and Palestinian refugee camps.
Big work with leading reconstruction surgeon Abu-Sitta from AUB Medical Center, on Ecology of War scientific project.
Also conducting negotiations with my dear friend, a great philosopher John Cobb about our upcoming book on collapse of basic human relationships, on philosophy, ecology and spirituality.