On Thursday the 20th June, Boštjan Videmšek spoke at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The talk was about his book, Dispatches from the Frontlines of Humanity: A Book of Reportage. The 20th June was a particularly poignant day for this talk, and for Boštjan as it was both World Refugee Day, and the National Statehood Day of Slovenia.
Boštjan’s book is an in-depth reportage on some of the most defining issues of our time, namely the global refugee crisis, the conflicts displacing these masses of humanity, and the causes behind them. It is also an ode to the vanishing art of the long-form feature or reportage, which is disappearing because many media organisations can no longer afford it, or are unwilling to pay for this kind of time-consuming, on-the-ground journalism. It is essential to keep alive old-school reportage from the field because it provides a human face to the issues challenging our world. It helps pierce the bubble of propaganda with a needle of truth and, beyond the political and human, it is a beautiful art form in its own right. This book showcases a keen eye for the human story and a profound commitment to the human family. By telling the stories detailed here, it helps put a human face on the suffering that is too often viewed statistically and quantitatively.
Boštjan is a Slovenian journalist, war-correspondent, and playwright. He is the author of several books about wars, conflicts, migration, refugees, the Arab Spring, and the Greek financial crisis, including 21st Century Conflicts: Remnants of War(s). He has reported from all major conflicts in last 20 years, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Darfur, South Sudan, Pakistan, Gaza, Libya, Somalia, and Kosovo.
Boštjan thoroughly enjoyed the day stating that it was ‘beautiful’ with many people, lots of ambassadors, diplomats, and human rights advocates coming together to celebrate the importance of this day. And (of course) it was a great opportunity to share his new book Dispatches from the Frontlines of Humanity: A Book of Reportage to a wider audience.
Here are some photos of Boštjan at the Council of Europe taken by Jure Eržen.