Andre Vitchek's 'Point of No Return'
Point of No Return, a mixture of novel and autobiography, is an engaging story of an intrepid war correspondent who resembles a saucy crime detective. It is superb story-telling.
Andre Vltchek’s just re-released Point of No Return is a revised third edition. First published in 2005, the French edition was widely praised, with one French critic compared the authors writing with that of Malraux and Hemingway.
The hero is Karel, who has covered dozens of foreign wars and internal liberation struggles. Most of the book concerns Israel-Palestine and Latin America, especially Peru. Indonesia’s aggression against East Timor and Egypt also play important roles. There are also stops in Paris, New York and Japan.
The author Andre has traveled to three-fourths of the world’s countries over two decades, communicating to whomever he can reach about the state of the world. He has written a score of non-fiction, fiction and poetry books. He is also a photographer and documentary film-maker.
The robust story flows rhythmically, sensually, enticingly. It is a sad reality that the veteran war correspondent encounters sometimes sickening things, which are just a reality of living and dying for three-fourths of the world’s seven billion people.
In Andre’s own words:
“Politicians and economists are blurring the whole picture…A small group of historically aggressive nations is still ruling the world. The economic system which it promotes has nothing to do with humanism, with solidarity, compassion, willingness to share. We have billions of people rotting in gutters all over the world; hundreds of millions of people dying from curable or at least controllable diseases. The rich world is still plundering the rest of the planet; stealing raw materials, employing people for a pittance.... If poor nations resist, the rich world stages coups or something worse.... And it is all legitimized through the United Nations, which was sidelined, made truly impotent...”
Point of No Return is also about how's.
“Religion teaches submission. It has always been the best ally of the status quo. Almost any oppressive government or movement in the past and present has chosen religion as its pillar. It helps to decompose reason....religions feel they don't have to prove anything. ‘You just have to believe,’ they say. Can any decent society be based on that?”
Karel understands that armed resistance to invasions is necessary, but at the same time, one should fight to win and not to die needlessly. With the advent of George Bush’s terrorist war on terror, wars of aggression follow one another from Afghanistan to Iraq and more countries on target. Many of the victims steep themselves in their religions and turn to fundamentalism.
“Religions gained ground, becoming the main anesthesia for the poor, a straw to which to cling…Intellectual freedom was frowned upon…The poets fell silent,” writes Andre, who is by no means anti-Muslim, but who rather opposes all forms of authoritarianism and totalitarianism.