By Eric Campbell

Award-winning international correspondent Eric Campbell has been stoned by means of fundamentalists, captured by means of US specified Forces, arrested in Serbia and threatened with expulsion from China. He′s negotiated relationship rituals in Moscow, shared a home with a charismatic mercenary in Kabul and brought up smoking at gunpoint in Kosovo. In 2003 in Iraq he used to be injured in a suicide bombing which killed his colleague, cameraman Paul Moran. by means of turns provocative and thoughtful, ABSURDISTAN is a memoir approximately juggling life, love and fatherhood whereas reporting from probably the most dysfunctional locations in the world.

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Absurdistan

Award-winning overseas correspondent Eric Campbell has been stoned through fundamentalists, captured through US designated Forces, arrested in Serbia and threatened with expulsion from China. He′s negotiated relationship rituals in Moscow, shared a home with a charismatic mercenary in Kabul and brought up smoking at gunpoint in Kosovo.

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The (television) bureau was in a business centre in an allegedly five-star hotel called the Radisson Slavyanskaya. The hotel had lured foreign media groups including the BBC, NBC and Reuters with cheap starting rents and was now bleeding them dry. But it had the only on-site transmission point for satelliting stories, so everyone was obliged to stay. Our tiny office had two assistants: Robert Gutnikov, an Uzbek-American trying to take a backdoor route into journalism; and Slava Zelenin, a Moscow translator who seemed to look down on the job but enjoyed the part-time work and easy money.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. I looked up and the cameraman was filming me again. I recognised him as the BBC’s shooter. I looked straight into his lens and he glanced up startled. ‘I’m a journalist,’ I said. ‘I met you yesterday. Do you remember my cameraman, Paul? ’ He said something about being sorry and asked if he could help me but I was seeing the explosion again and it overpowered everything. We had been the last to drive to the militants’ base after the Americans bombed it because we wanted to be sure it was safe.

More do it just for the money. Many see television as glamorous; a few hope it will make them famous. But to my knowledge, nobody ever became a television reporter to film caravan parks in East Gippsland. It was just how things worked out for me. In 1990, as the first Gulf War was about to get under way, I was working for a TV travel program, planning a shoot about budget holidays in Victoria. I had always had a vague plan to become a foreign correspondent, but some unwise career choices had trapped me in the dimmest recesses of Australian television.

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