Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Kapuscinski redux

Over at the Netscape blog, now rechristened NewsQuake!, I've posted a slightly longer consideration of Ryszard Kapuscinski's case. The piece includes a brief conversation with Stephen Koch, the author of Double Lives: Spies and Writers in the Secret Soviet War of Ideas Against the West and a longtime student of the ethical pitfalls that await any writer living in a police state. Here's a sample of our exchange:
Netscape: Are you surprised by the allegations? Or did the research and writing of Double Lives destroy that capacity for surprise?

Koch: I am not surprised; not even especially shocked. We in the West do not know what it means truly to lack freedom. One test of a totalitarian society comes when the exercise of the ordinary decencies, or when the mere living of something resembling a free life, calls for nothing short of heroism. When the principle of social cohesion becomes betrayal. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, Kapuscinski was a Polish journalist who traveled abroad. That alone was enough for the regime to extract its paranoiac quid pro quo. The regime took something from everyone's freedom. No exceptions. None.
You can read the rest here.

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