Category Archives: Andre Vltchek

African Ideological Ebola for Imperialists, André Vltchek

one of public libraries in beautiful Asmara
one of public libraries in beautiful Asmara

Qohaito is a mysterious, ancient, pre-Aksumite settlement in the Eritrean highlands, with several impressive monolithic columns rising towards the sky. It is said that right there, under the surface, exists another entire lost city. As you walk, the earth shakes, and somewhere deep below; you can hear the echo of your footsteps.

Just a few minutes drive from the columns, the plateau suddenly ends. There is a cliff and a breathtaking view into the deep valley. This place is called Ishka. And this is where thousands of Eritrean freedom fighters and civilians used to hide from the brutal Ethiopian occupation forces.

I set up my cameras right near the cliff, asks my local cameraman to roll, and then put the first question to a local mountaineer, Mr. Ibrahim Omar: “How was life here, for you, before and after the independence?”

“There were two separate lives”, he explained. “The first one, before independence – that was harsh, brutal. And then came the other life, a totally different one, after we won. This is when our basic human rights got recognized and respected. The schools, health posts and roads were built. Everything was suddenly transformed.”

I ask Mr. Omar for an example and he readily replies:

“Before, a pregnant woman would have to ride on a camel, for long hours, to reach some medical post, in order to give birth. Many women would die during the journey. Now medical posts are readily available in this area…”

He thinks for a few seconds, then adds: “And this is what I call life.”

As we drive back to the capital city – Asmara – we can see new roads, some paved, some not yet, cutting through the rugged, mountainous terrain. And parallel to them, new electric wires are stretching out towards the horizon.

In the car, I am thinking about what Mr. Omar defined as ‘human rights’. Here, it is in direct contrast to what the expression stands for in the West. In the United States and in Europe, ‘human rights’ were created as an ideological tool, a weapon in the Cold War period. In Eritrea, it has a very simple meaning: feeding the people, giving them free education and medical care, building new roads, supplying them with electric power.

Here in Ishka was resistance.
Here in Ishka was resistance.

***

To understand Eritrea is not easy. But outside Asmara, everything is exposed; nothing can be hidden. Both poverty and the heroic attempts to eradicate it are right here, in my face. Farmers are working hard; many roads and electric grids are under construction.

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Trolls! We Create, They Spoil, and We Fight Back!, André Vltchek

Trolls are exhausting, but eternal. They are like lice, like parasites. When I try to imagine them, in my mind they appear like something slimy, moderately stinky, and thoroughly repulsive.

It appears that they come from nowhere; they insult and ridicule, then they move rapidly back into the darkness, awaiting another appropriate opportunity to attack and to harm.

Like rat droppings, they leave their toxic comments at the bottom of the RT reports, and all over other great, often non-Western media outlets. The better the reports, the more vicious their assaults are. Trolls are particularly ‘outraged’ by those writers who are managing to effectively deconstruct the main official narratives erected by the US and UK propagandist gurus.

Their comments range from: “The author must have been drunk when he wrote the article”, to the much more elaborate, ‘analytical’ slurs. You know that you are dealing with a troll, when some stereotypical catch phrase pops up: “I am shocked that the RT is now droppings its standards, by using such low-quality reporting”.

There are iPad revolutionaries among them, or some individuals, defined in some countries such as Eritrea as “useful idiots”. Useful to the Empire, of course!

Most of trolls are ‘politically correct’. They try to get you, by the linguistic standards created by the Empire. You slip and they are at your throat. You lose your temper, calling someone names in the middle of the battle, and they bury their dirty teeth right into your flesh.

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Book Review: Point of No Return, by André Vltchek

PointofNoReturn

Vltchek may have revived a difficult genre—political fiction

by Michael Schiffmann

With his work Point of No Return, the journalist, documentary filmmaker and author of numerous books on the repercussions of Western imperialism Andre Vltchek engages in a risk that has become rare these days, namely, to write an explicitly political novel. And what is more, he succeeds in doing so in a very impressive way.

On the canvas of a strongly autobiographical background, Vltchek develops the arresting story of a politically committed war reporter, his alter ego Karel, a man coming from Czechia in Eastern Europe but living in exile in Latin America and frantically traveling the continents “to learn, to see, and to write,” always in the attempt to make the terrors and revolting conditions experienced in the process public and to contribute to over due change thereby.

The free-floating existence of a war correspondence who has no firm roots anywhere, who is here today and there tomorrow and who doesn’t only market the suffering and pain observed in the process, but also regularly exchanges it for the suffering of other victims of course in- vites cynicism, and this cynicism is lurking in the background of even Karel:

There was no particular place on earth where I desired to live. […] I had floated with no anchor, moving from place to place, free from all responsibilities except one – to be a witness to the insanity that was swallowing the world – to be a storyteller, to be where essential things were happening: to be myself.

andreVltchekHONGOHAT

The story plays out in Peru, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Indonesia, and in cities such as Lima, Paris, New York, and Tokyo, which can be seen a reflection of the restless life of Vltchek himself who, according to himself, has traveled more than 150 of the 200 countries of the earth. But before long, we recognize how, behind the permanent haste, the continuous change of location, there are evident deep convictions of the protagonist, a deep relation to and a deep sympathy for the exploited, oppressed, and gagged majority of the world population with whom his job brings him into permanent contact.

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‘Iraqi Kurdistan’ – Western Fifth Column in the Middle East, by André Vltchek

New front line in the fog ISIS holding the hills
New front line in the fog ISIS holding the hills

This report is dedicated to Serena Shim. Because both of us, had been covering an almost identical story. Because she is dead and I am still alive. Because she was brave. Because even as she was being threatened, and scared, she did not stop her dedicated quest for the truth, and as long as people like her live, work, struggle and die for our humanity, all is not lost, yet!

***

The weather is gloomy; it is drizzling and heavy fog is covering the entire countryside. After leaving Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq, large and small military as well as police checkpoints appear; like ghosts, on both sides and in the middle of an old, dilapidated motorway, which was built during Saddam Hussein’s years.

There are huge Kurdish flags waving above the checkpoints. Small ones are attached to the bumpers of cars.

“We cannot slow down, unless the guards order us to stop”, explains my driver, as we pass by the mountains of sandbags and the aggressive black muzzles of machine guns. “They have orders to shoot without warning.”

We don’t stop, but I photograph whenever it is possible, even through the windshield.

We are driving on the road that leads straight to Mosul, the city that was taken by ISIS, or as it is known here, in Arabic, Da’ish, in June 2014.

My driver is scared. The entire region is tense and this time even the city of Erbil (also known as Arbil) has not been spared. On the 19th of November, a car bomb exploded in front of the Governor’s office, killing at least 6 people, and injuring dozens. Almost immediately, ISIS took responsibility, declaring their aim to spread insecurity in the Kurdish, which is pro-Western, enclave of northern Iraq.

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Do Western Leftists Hate Socialist Countries ? , by André Vltchek

Let's stick to the basics, comrades!

The multitudes in Europe and North America did not really pay attention, did not notice, but in so many parts of the world, the Left was elected or it fought and won revolutions that propelled it to power. This is a totally different world than it was some twenty years ago; we are living in increasingly optimistic times, full of wonderful alternatives.

For the first time in centuries it seems possible to dream about a world that will not be defined by Western imperialism and colonialism!

In so many places, people are once again in charge of their countries, standing tall, building their cities and villages, erecting towers and bridges, putting to work mighty turbines, giving light to the poor, healing the sick and educating those who were kept in darkness, for decades and centuries, as a result of Western colonialism and savage capitalism.

Entire modern and ecological neighborhoods are growing up all over China; entire cities are being built, with enormous parks and public exercise grounds, with childcare centers and all the modern sanitation facilities, as well as wide sidewalks and incredibly cheap and super modern public transportation.

In Latin America, former slums are being converted into cultural centers, connected to the rest of the other urban areas by super modern cable cars.

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‘PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS’ IN HK, by Andre Vltchek

Westerners mingle with local protesters. Many questions and much incomprehension, side by side.
Westerners mingle with local protesters. Many questions and much incomprehension, side by side.

For decades Hong Kong has been a turbo-capitalist, extremely consumerist, and aggressive society. Its people are facing some of the most unrealistic prices on earth, particularly for housing…

What is it? It is not orange or green, and definitely not red!  It has an umbrella as its symbol. ‘That humble umbrella’, as many people in Hong Kong are often saying.

But is it really benign?

We are talking, of course, about the ‘democracy protests’ in Hong Kong, also known as ‘the Umbrella Movement’; the latest addition of the ‘popular uprisings’ promoted by the West!

 Superman ready for anything. Good photo op for Western  cameras.

Superman ready for anything. Good photo op for Western cameras.

At the North Point in Hong Kong, near Kowloon Ferry, a middle-aged man is waving a banner that reads “Support Our Police”. On the photo, the tents and umbrellas of the ‘pro-democracy’ ‘Occupy Central’ protest movement (also known as the ‘Umbrella Movement’) are depicted in sepia, a depressing color.

“Are you against the protesters?” I ask the man.

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Fight for new Indonesia, Andre Vltchek

Open letter to President of Indonesia

Just a few days have passed since your inauguration, Mr. President, and the people; at least a great number of the people in your country, are now expecting, even demanding a change, an immediate metamorphosis of the nation. They think that because you have become the President of Indonesia, their lives will improve soon, their fears will diminish, and their sorrows will disappear.

For the first time in decades, the eyes of many poor Indonesian people are full of hope. They trust you, Mr. President. They feel optimism. Some of them now even dare to dream.

Hope… I was once told by a great South American writer and thinker, Eduardo Galeano that, “Hope is often all that poor people have. To give them hope, and then take it away, is worse then murdering them.”

Socialist governments were then beginning to emerge, all over South America – from Venezuela to Chile, from Argentina to Bolivia. This was Galeano’s massage to them: “Comrades, watch out! Keep you promises. Do not play with the hopes of your people!”

South American leaders listened, and prevailed. They turned hopes into reality. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work on behalf of their nations. They forgot all about false pride and they learned how to serve their people, how to put them first, how to defend those who were until then, abandoned and helpless.

Mr. President, the country, the state, is only great if it serves one single purpose: to improve the lives of its people, and to improve the lives of people all over the world.

***
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Freest Under Czech Communism!, by André Vltchek

12

Milan Kohout is a thinker, performer, and professor. He was born in Czechoslovakia, where he lived before signing of ‘Charter 77’, and immigrating to the United States, where he became a naturalized US citizen. Mr. Kohout got thoroughly disappointed with capitalism, and the Western regime.

For years and decades he has been performing all over the world, confronting Western imperialism, racism, capitalism and all the world’s religions, particularly Christianity, frontally.

The Discussion took place on October 12, 2014, in Klikarov, a small village in West Bohemia. Vltchek came to Czech Republic in order to give a political lecture at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts in the city of Pilsen, where Kohout teaches. Both of them drove to a tiny and remote village of Klikarov, in West Bohemia, where they sat by a fishpond, and engaged in a discussion about toxicity of Western imperialism, capitalism and European/US propaganda.

***

ANDRE VLTCHEK (AV): You are one of the few artists in the West who is taking direct action against Western imperialism, against unbridled capitalism, and against the religions. How and when did you choose this particular form of art?

MILAN KOHOUT (ML): It is obviously from the days when I was part of the so-called ‘Second Culture’, the Czech Underground; the era that was called by the West a ‘totalitarian system’ or, the Czechoslovak socialist system. ‘Second Culture’ was the movement that shaped our own creativity as well as the meaning of art. In those days we were expelled from the official culture, or from the ‘first culture’. So we rebelled. It was a deeply political movement by definition, and it produced political art.

AV: You often say, very correctly, that those of you who signed “Charter 77”, and those of you who were involved in the underground/opposition movement during the Cold War, were actually socialists, some even Marxists. That includes you. You are definitely a left-wing intellectual. That is a clear paradox: the West was ‘selling you’, promoting you, as a group of anti-Communists. Could you talk about this paradox?

MK: There has been, of course, such a paradox, a great paradox, because most of the people from the underground movement, of the ‘second culture’, were actually deeply supportive of leftist values. Like sharing everything, instead of collecting things. We believed in the common ownership of property and the means of production. But we never thought about it from a theoretical angle – we did not realize that our values were actually leftist, philosophically. So while we were fighting against the so-called Communist government, we were actually true Communists!

Btw, when I say this to my fellow ‘Charter-77’ comrades who have never left this country, they often get very pissed off – they don’t want to admit it.

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