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Showing results for tags 'Ryszard Kapuscinski'.
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An amazing writer who grows up in Poland while Stalin had a firm grip. His first trip overseas is as a reporter to Italy and India, and Kapuscinski shares all his bewilderment. From there we travel with him to Egypt and Africa while Kapuscinski muses over stories of Ancient Greece and Persia. An absolute pleasure to read.
‘The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat’ is the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski’s account of the last days of the court of Haile Selassie, told through the eyes of the courtiers who survived his reign. Whilst I’m sure Kapuscinski would have preferred to have had direct access to Selassie himself, he never the less brilliantly pieces together the strange world of the Ethiopian court from the accounts of those who did. All the elements of corruption, incompetence, grandiloquence and social climbing we would expect from the inner circle of a third world monarchy are in place. The life lived inside a privileged world, whilst outside the country is left to rot. All outlined in a cultivated and laconic manner by courtiers for whom this kind of ridiculous insanity is the most natural thing in the world. Oh, how the other half live. One question that hung over my head as I read, was how did this man come to be regarded as a deity by Rastafarians? A possible explanation begins to emerge as you get further into the book, as it turns out that Selassie was just about the most laid back person to have ever walked the earth. The rampant corruption and regular famines of his country are regarded as ‘just the way things are’. The jostling for position and in-fighting amongst courtiers observed with nothing more than mild amusement. Even his eventual overthrow is greeted with the observation that ‘if the revolution is good for the people, then I too, support the revolution and would not oppose my dethronement’. How more Rastafarian can you get?