Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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 Goltz

Chechnya: Conversation with Thomas Goltz, writer, November 17, 2003, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Thomas Goltz, who is a freelance journalist, documentary filmmaker, and writer.book cover His publications include Azerbaijan Diary, and most recently, Chechnya Diary.

  1. Background ... provincial childhood ... languages ... theatrical urge ... becoming a journalist
  2. Being a Journalist ... luck ... fate ... journey ... malleability ... sense of drama ... collapse of the Soviet Union ... romantic idealism of the journalist ... cynical fear of providing "entertainment" ... why God created editors ... the right ball for the right hoop
  3. Chechnya ... round-about journey to the story ... Samashki: "Grovers Corners à la Chechnya" ... Chechens and their relation to the Soviet state ... Stalinization and diaspora ... return ... Hussein and the "Chechen spirit"
  4. The Attack on Samashki ... isolated with the villagers ... Russians storm the town ... peace marchers ... watching the attack from both sides of the lines ... getting the story out ... Peck award finalist ... Heisenberg principle and the myth of the "neutral vessel" ... news marketing creates wrong focus
  5. Lessons Learned ... contribution of theatrical background ... value of human relationships ... taking responsibility for having been there ... advice to students ... importance of understanding the complexity of the story ... anecdote: the beginning of a lie about al Qaeda links

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