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Meeting with David Rieff at kmbs
Meeting with David Rieff at kmbs
On October 18, within the walls of kmbs, a meeting was held with David Riff, an American journalist and writer who, in the 1990s, covered conflicts in Africa (Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Liberia), the Balkans (Bosnia and Kosovo), and Central Asia. And now he'

The event was organized together with the Kyiv-Mohyla Academys' Department of Literary Studies, named after Volodymyr Morenets. And the head of the department, Roman Veretelnyk, was moderating the meeting.

David explained his motivation to be in Ukraine now: "If I can be useful somewhere, I want to be there." Also, he remembered how he began his career as a military journalist: "In 1991, I lived in Berlin and thought of writing a book about immigration from third world countries to Germany. Just then, Bosnia was "caught up on fire," and I went to write just one article. However, I stayed for three years. I was in Sarajevo during the siege and lived there for about 1.5 years. After that, I wrote about many places where wars and humanitarian disasters occurred. I am 71 and thought I would write "off the top of my head." But it did not happen like that.

In most wars I've seen, deciding what side is right is hard. Instead, there are only different shades of gray. And all you can do is sympathize with the victims. In my opinion, only in Bosnia were clearly right and wrong sides. I never thought I would see this again, but this is precisely what is happening in Ukraine. That's why I came here at my respectable age."

The guest said his parents were writers, so writing is a family affair. A book will also be born from the experience gained in Ukraine. "If it's good, I'll publish it," says David.

The event participants could ask the speaker questions about his writing career and thoughts on the current situation in Ukraine, and he was happy to answer them. Also, he joked: "If you live long enough and are a writer, sooner or later you will write a bad book. You may not realize it immediately, but trust me, it will happen."

We thank David for visiting kmbs and hope to him you again!

Photo: Halyna Zabolotna

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