Richard Burton is one of your greatest heroes. Are there any living
explorers you admire? Any other living heroes out there you could name?
Despite what National Geographic would have you believe, the age of
geographic exploration ended in the 19th century. There are no more
explorers left. My heroes now are people who overcome great odds to
change the world. Many of these people are rebel leaders, aid workers,
mujahadeen and other non-Hollywood types. Frances Ona (the rebel leader
in Bougainville) is an example of someone who has stuck by his principals
of fighting a mining company to preserve a way of life. Shah Ahmed Massoud
(Afghanistan) is another. Even aid worker Fred Cuny (who died in Chechnya)
is an example of a new hero. They remain uncorrupted, focused and ultimately
will not achieve their goal but will inspire others to continue.
you comment on the "adventure cocktail circuit" and literary
boom in this segment?
I was just reading an article on Sebastian Junger who considers tree
trimming dangerous and bemoans his newfound wealth. He writes about
wars for fashion magazines and New York society circles. Sebastian is
good writer and a good person but he is simply a gladiator entertaining
the Romans. Even the editor of Men's Journal quit because they ran "12
weeks to a great body" on the cover instead of stories written
by their staff. There is a voyeuristic quality to adventure and war
now that smacks of fraud. These days it is more in vogue to wear the
uniform than to fight the war.
Also people are fascinated by violence, war and horror because they
live such dull safe lives.
At a time when the media is totally centered on info-tainment, how do
you deal with it, and how do you deal with the way you are portrayed
in the media?
I try to not project an image. I don't wrestle crocodiles, wear a Stetson
or even plug my books. I question and challenge reporters instead of
just answering their questions. I cut through the bullshit by reminding
the media that there are
normal people living in these dangerous places and that they need our
help. I also ask why it is only journalists that think they are allowed
to enter a war zone when there is so much long term help and understanding
needed. And most importantly I want them to stop and think about why
they aren't doing what I am doing: helping people understand what is
going on in dangerous places.
reality "the only true thing"?
Yes. From a solid understanding of what is real comes art, philosophy,
intelligence and wisdom. Books, TV, and other secondary forms
can always spark the imagination but the human body needs to be
using all its senses and intellect to truly comprehend and compare.
have survived bombings, a plane crash, accidents, shootings, and been
in numerous war zones. What is your greatest fear?
around doing nothing. Or being prevented from doing what I do.
| 2 | 3 | 4
| RYP - Books and Links