The Death of Andre Vltchek, A Passionate Warrior for Truth

“If the world is upside down the way it is now, wouldn’t we have to turn it over to get it to stand up straight?” – Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down, 1998

For decades, Andre Vltchek, an old-school journalist and artist (but a young man) who traveled the world in search of truth and who always stood up straight, tried to revolve the world and encourage people to revolt against injustice. In this age of arm-chair reporters, he stood out for his boldness and indefatigable courage. He told it straight. This irritated certain people and some pseudo-left publications, who sensed in him a no bullshit fierceness and nose for hypocrisy that frightened them, so they stopped publishing his writing. He went where so many others  feared to tread, and he talked to people in places that were often the victims of Western imperialistic violence. He defended the defenseless and encouraged their defense.

Now he is dead.  He died in the back seat of a chauffeur driven rental car on an overnight drive to Istanbul, Turkey. He was sleeping, and when his wife attempted to wake him upon arrival at their hotel, she couldn’t.  He was 57-years-old.

Let him sleep in peace, but let his words ring out, his passionate cries for justice and peace in a world of violent predators.

Those who knew him and his work feel a great, great loss. His friend and colleague Peter Koenig wrote this touching goodbye.

As Koenig says, Vltchek was always defending those around the world who are considered disposable non-people, the Others, the non- whites, victims of Western wars, both military and economic, in places such as West Papua, Iraq, Syria, Africa, etc. He had a chip on his shoulder, a well justified chip, against the one-sided Western media and its elites that were always lecturing the rest of the world about their realities.

He was recently in the United States, and here is what he wrote:

But notice one thing: it is them, telling us, again, telling the world what it is and what it is not! You would never hear such statements in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. There, people know perfectly well what it really is all about, whether it is about race or not!

I have just spent two weeks in the United States, analyzing the profound crises of U.S. society. I visited Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, New York, and Boston. I spoke to many people in all those places. What I witnessed was confusion and total ignorance about the rest of the world. The United States, a country which has been brutalizing our Planet for decades, is absolutely unable to see itself in the context of the entire world. People, including those from the media, are outrageously ignorant and provincial.

And they are selfish.

I asked many times: “Do black lives matter all over the world? Do they matter in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and do they matter in West Papua?” I swear, I received no coherent answer.

Somebody has to tell them… Somebody has to force them to open their eyes.

A few years ago, I was invited to Southern California to show my documentary work from Africa (my feature documentary film Rwanda Gambit, about West-triggered genocides in both Rwanda and later in the Democratic Republic of Congo), where millions of black people are dying, in order for the vast majority of the U.S. whites to live in piggish opulence.

But before I was allowed to present, I was warned: ‘Remember, people here are sensitive. Do not show too much of brutal reality, as it could disturb them.’

Hearing that, I almost left the event. Only my respect for the organizer made me stay.

Now I am convinced: it is time to force them to watch; to see rivers of blood, which their laziness, selfishness, and greed have triggered. It is time to force them to hear shouts of the agony of the others.

But as everyone knows, it is nearly impossible to force people to open their eyes and ears when they are dead set against doing so.  Andre tried so hard to do that, and his frustration grew apace with those efforts that seemed to fall on deaf ears.

He was a relentless fighter, but he was a lover, too.  His love for the people and cultures of the world was profound.  Like Albert Camus, he tried to serve both beauty and suffering, the noblest of vocations. A lover of literature and culture, the best art and beauty ever produced, he was appalled at the way so many in the West had fallen into the pit of ignorance, illiteracy, and the grip of propaganda so tight that “what is missing is life. Euphoria, warmth, poetry and yes – love – are all in extremely short supply there.”

He sensed, and said it, that nihilism rules in the United States beneath the compulsive consumerism and the denial of the violence that the U.S. inflicts on people across the world. It was selfishness run amok. Me me me. It was, he felt, soul death, the opposite of all the ostensible religiousness that is a cover story for despair. He wrote:

It has to be stopped. I say it because I do love this life, the life, which still exists outside the Western realm; I’m intoxicated with it, obsessed with it. I live it to the fullest, with great delight, enjoying every moment of it.

Poetry, music, great literature, these he loved as he fought on the barricades for peace.

I urge you to read his article, Love, Western Nihilism and Revolutionary Optimism.

He was a rare and courageous man.  Let us ring bells in his honor.

Here’s a Kenneth Rexroth poem for Andre, the fighter with the poet’s heart:

No Word

The trees hang silent

In the heat….

Undo your heart

Tell me your thoughts

What you were

And what you are….

Like the bells no one

Has ever rung






15 thoughts on “The Death of Andre Vltchek, A Passionate Warrior for Truth”

  1. I just wanted to give you a heads up on email censorship. I just had an email that I sent to my distribution list deleted by I believe it was removed to combat fake news. It was a tongue-in-cheek story about a fictional public emergency. I believe email censorship is a new level of oppression. The deleted email follows.

    Public Health Emergency

    Just when you thought that things were about to return to normal, a new public health emergency has emerged. Scientist have discovered that the Earth is being bombarded with cosmic rays from outer space. The governor has declared an emergency and has mandated that everyone must wear a tin-foil hat for protection. Since tin-foil is no longer accessible, we will be allowed to temporarily use aluminum foil to make our hats. Once production of tin-foil is ramped up, everyone will be required to wear a tin-foil hat. If you plan on flying you will need a mask, a tin-foil hat, proof of vaccination, remove your shoes and raise your arms so that a picture of your naked body can be observed by workers in another room. TSA has assured us that they are no longer laughing and making fun of our naked bodies. All these precautions are for our own protection and not as some are saying merely as a show of obedience.


  2. Andre knew what his real job was, his actual true calling, and he simply and passionately refused to pretend for politeness sake that instead of truth-telling – it was somehow more important to protect and shield we oh so “sensitive” and self-absorbed Westerner “consumers” from our collectively repressed and denied awareness that we in fact unleash mayhem and death upon both the planet and the poor daily and without remorse. Andre was a great and dear spirit. Thank you Ed.

    1. Hello again Ed, I forgot to add; Andre was quoted in your commentary; “I swear, I received no coherent answer”
      In this region, the ‘nice’ people do not know they are incoherent!

  3. Andre’s words leapt from the page and into the hearts of those who are open to hear.
    Peace be with him.
    Thank you Edward.

  4. Thank you for remembering him. I have followed him for years and viewed him as a soul comrade. As I do you. Thank you.

  5. I don’t doubt that Vltchek was a great man and journalist, but I am missing the mechanism by which people being killed in the Congo by our rogue government related to my ability to live in piggish opulence. It seems to me that the money coerced from me and used for such purposes is a loss of energy from the local economy and a boost for someone somewhere, but not most of us. But he was certainly right that Americans have needed for some time to be exposed to the harm our cooperation in this system of deceptions does in the real world.

    1. Agreed. Did Vltchek write anything about how propagandized the U.S. public is? Kind of tired of being dumped on about our so-called high standard of living and opulence, which is a myth for at least half the population, which doesn’t have $500 in the bank or healthcare. U.S. citizens are victims too (and it’s about to get much worse).

  6. I read Andre Vltchek over the years and I listened to him deeply. I had not
    yet heard of his death. It makes me really sad. It’s good I came here today – to your special place in the ether Edward – so I could hear the news from you.

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