The master of literary reportage reflects on the West’s encounters with the non-European
In this distillation of reflections accumulated from a lifetime of travel, Ryszard Kapuscinski takes a fresh look at the Western idea of the Other. Looking at this concept through the lens of his own encounters in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and considering its formative significance for his own work, Kapuscinski traces how the West has understood the non-European from classical times to the present day. He observes how in the twenty-first century we continue to treat the residents of the Global South as hostile aliens, objects of study rather than full partners sharing responsibility for the fate of humankind.
In our globalised but increasingly polarised world, Kapuscinski shows how the Other remains one of the most compelling ideas of our times.
Kapuscinski (1932-2007) was for decades Poland's most celebrated foreign correspondent, covering some 50 countries for the Polish Press Agency. Since 1965, he focused especially on major wars and revolutions in the developing world and global South. For Poland, he was a principal source of news about the world beyond their closed society. This collection includes four of his speeches on the concept of the "Other." His observations are sobering: "an encounter with Others is not a simple, automatic thing, but involves will and an effort that not everyone is always ready to undertake." Kapuscinski's world view is idealistic and pragmatic, making room for historical forces and personal trauma while dealing with the Other in real-world and existential terms A knowing, thought-provoking and hopeful examination of a perennial theme, readers may yet be disappointed that, given his remarkable career, Kapuscinski (Travels with Herodotus) so rarely gets personal.