A travel/food show with political overtones

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tonksrok
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A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby tonksrok » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:48 pm

I've been watching Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" on CNN for the past few weeks, last night was the season finale. It sems like a travel show but the places he goes (Tangiers, Peru, Myanamar, The Congo) have some interesting political histories and Bourdain makes some pretty interesting comments regarding this. His latest snark was during the show on the Congo, seems like after the Belgians fled the country (after pretty much raping and pillaging the place) there was a democratic election. For some reason the elected Pres did not win any friends with the CIA, the Brits or the French, so they killed him (the remark was that the CIA had the French & British do the dirty work). This led to the ascendancy of Col. Mobutu - a ruthless dictator who stole every bit of the Congo's money he could get his hands on. The Congo is now fractured by different rebel groups, constant guerilla warfare, you name it but the run of the mill Congolese still have hope that someday things will get better (or so Bourdain seems to think). It is such a poor region there was very little exploration of the cuisine, of which there is little to none and the whole show was sort of a meander down the Congo River while Bourdain mused over his favorite book Heart of Darkness. There was a very interesting moment when Bourdain made the supposition that if the Congolese had just killed the first white explorer, the Belgian occupation would never had happened. The Congolese person he was talking to just shook his head and said someone else would have come instead and nothing would have changed. For some reason this show has touched me emotionally and sparked an intellectual curiosity to research the history of that particular reason. What I am most curious about is why the CIA had to interfere with the country in the first place.
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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby Ireneb » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:04 pm

You might find The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver very illuminating on the topic of Congo, Belgian and CIA involvement in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected President, after which they put an illiterate army sergeant, Mobutu, in charge. It was an eyeopener for me. It is also an excellent book, really well written.
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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby tonksrok » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:10 am

I'll check it out IreneB - to me it is just appalling what the Europeans did to Africa, the the US had to get in the picture and we end up with a seriously fractured country and more warring tribes. The Aficans should have killed every white man who ever set foot on their continent!!
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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby jim » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:49 pm

Ireneb wrote:You might find The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver very illuminating on the topic of Congo, Belgian and CIA involvement in the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected President, after which they put an illiterate army sergeant, Mobutu, in charge. It was an eyeopener for me. It is also an excellent book, really well written.



Good recommendation. I will check it out.

I love Bourdain personally and not just because he came to my restaurant a few months after I opened it. Though no one thought to call me to tell me he was there with 30 loyal followers in tow. I think he is probably a bit more deep than most give him credit for. If he can go on national TV and talk about his LSD and drug experiences and the political stuff (the most he can get away with at least) and still uncover the cuisine, I say more power to him.

I just finished Heart of Darkness and yes, it was written over 100 years ago, so it was a slog to get through. I got the import of the piece and read the subsequent reviews and critiques of Conrad. None of it struck me especially. Good narrative, intriguing for perhaps someone back in the day who had never left London (as I guess Kipling did).

Where am I going with this? I don't remember, but that part of the world seems eternally fucked by Europeans and their descendants.
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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby allegro63 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:12 pm

The Poisonowood Bible was wonderful
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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby lucy » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:11 am

Maybe it is just me, but I find Bourdain as irritating as hell. I have no idea why, but I just cannot watch him.

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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby Ireneb » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:02 pm

jim wrote:[
I just finished Heart of Darkness and yes, it was written over 100 years ago, so it was a slog to get through. I got the import of the piece and read the subsequent reviews and critiques of Conrad. None of it struck me especially. Good narrative, intriguing for perhaps someone back in the day who had never left London (as I guess Kipling did).

Where am I going with this? I don't remember, but that part of the world seems eternally fucked by Europeans and their descendants.
Heart of Darkness is not the easiest of Conrad's books. I had to read it a second time before I appreciated it more.

Conrad was otherwise a good writer. The Secret Agent is excellent, even has an anarchist with a bomb strapped round his body which he threatens to let off if he's arrested. Prescient or what? (It was written in 1907)
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Re: A travel/food show with political overtones

Postby neko2 » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:16 pm

Jim,
What was Bourdain like? He has his whole crew in his home (extended family home) one Christmas. The crew seemed a little stressed.
The book sounds interesting. I did see that episode.


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