12 January 2023 Off By Pal Blanko

Heroes of the Written Word

[3] Ryszard Kapuscinski

Kapuscinski was the man that Hemingway would have wanted to be, had Hemingway ever grown-up, or put-down his elephant gun. He had a humble understatedness and a way of looking at the world, that could only have come from a Soviet writer, that was trying to understand the collapse of European empires, and the formation of many new African and Oriental republics.


With Kapuscinski, one never got the feeling that he was trying to show-off, or prove his machismo, in the way that war-reporters do today. Instead, he just listened, and listened well: to the speeches of the leaders that he was paid to convey, and to the voices in the streets, that he felt compelled to relay.


It is said that he took two notepads with him wherever he went. The first was his reporter's notebook, containing tedious, compliant text; of numerically correct word-count, and of politically correct word-order. This was the copy for his Soviet Newspaper. The second sheaf were his personal notes and his honest accounts - this was the good stuff. This second notebook produced a plethora of subtle, pensive, and stunningly knowing reports of War in Angola, of Revolution in Iran and of Turmoil in Ethiopia.


Having seeing so many conflicts, his fatigue finally surfaces whilst in Tehran in 1979, as he takes breakfast in his hotel, looking-out onto the streets below. All about his building, the revolution rages, and whilst cars burn in the street, and amidst students being mown-down by the army, he diverts his own prose into a quiet siding; to relay the joy of eating hot-buttered toast.


For him, there was no excitement in war, no bravery with soldiers, and no intrigue in revolution. All war is death and all revolution is lies. From the tail end of his career, Kapuscinski emerges with a strong humanist streak, and as a flag-waver; not for Marxists manning the barricades, but instead for the everyman in the street: for those down-trodden by leaders with bloated egos and over-arching ideologies. He is the voice for those poor souls, onto which the hardships-of-war are thrust.


Ryszard Kapuscinski: A man of quiet genius and roaring talent


- Pal Blanko

Read this next: Malcolm Gladwell

Pal Blanko - Blog Post Thumbnail - Malcolm Gladwell


Read this next: Graham Hancock

Pal Blanko - Blog Post Thumbnail - Graham Hancock


For Heroes of the Written Word [1]:


For Heroes of the Written Word [2]:

HUNTER S. THOMPSON, click here

For Heroes of the Written Word [3]:


For Heroes of the Written Word [4]:


For Heroes of the Written Word [5]:

GRAHAM HANCOCK, click here

For Heroes of the Written Word [6]:


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