“Reporters with cell phones to explain to the world what happens here” – Corriere.it

“Reporters with cell phones to explain to the world what happens here” – Corriere.it
“Reporters with cell phones to explain to the world what happens here” – Corriere.it

There are no parables, no crews with cameras and sound engineers, no great international envoys: there is him who goes around Acceptance filming with the cell phone attached to the selfie stick. And, with him, a few others to document the collapse of Afghanistan and the upheavals that are shaking the earth that for centuries has been the tomb of empires. People often without a contract, who perform services hoping that someone will buy them. Maybe arriving there thanks to a hand that sticks out the passport from the gate of an embassy that no longer exists. Like Claudio Locatelli, 34, from Curno but transferred to Padua, probably the only Italian journalist left in Afghanistan. Four years fa had been in Syria to fight against Isis but he has ten years of journalism behind him in conflict areas where people have to use cell phones to attract as little attention as possible. I always fight but with different tools, sometimes the pen or the video is enough. But during the lockdown I coordinated one hundred volunteers from the Municipality of Padua, for Bosnia we collected twelve trucks of first aid goods. My perspective is to commit myself to the world: the means change but the intention remains the same.

Now the half the story in the field.
I don’t see journalism as a career but as a tool to intervene on reality and improve the world in which I live. With my live broadcasts, people understand what is happening and are involved beyond the static nature of a certain journalism.

But funds are needed.
I do different jobs and I am a competitive personal trainer and coach of the Obstacle course race sport, soon there will be the World Cup in the USA, and I really don’t think I will be able to go there. Then sometimes I manage to sell some reports, for areas of the world without coverage such as Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh where I have been for forty days. In this case, the readers who followed me on social networks became passionate about my way of telling and financed me, and then I was able to sell the services.

Those from Afghanistan have no buyers yet.
Rather than giving them without dignity with slavery compensation, I put them on Facebook for free. As long as I have a chance to go on I do it, when I can’t make it stop anymore.

To go to Kabul it is not enough to buy a ticket.
I understood what would happen at the end of July, I immediately asked for a visa which arrived on 22 August. In the meantime, the Taliban had taken Kabul, they handed me my passport through the gate on the 23rd, but I insisted that they give me a visa first. The country was closed and the only way was to find access from one of the neighboring countries. With a colleague we went on a crazy ride from Islamabad, Karachi, Dubai, Termez, until we found a person who let us cross the border and accredited us with the Taliban. I arrived on Tuesday.

But how do you get accredited with the Taliban?
We had contacts that got us talking to the right people. Over the years I have built a network of people and sources that have allowed me to succeed where most are failing, that is, to enter here now.

How’s the situation there?
There is a surreal state of calm. The only good thing is this, because the war is over. The emirate has a lot of interest in dealing with Western journalists even if we are very few and for the most part independent. So much so that I was among the few to interview the general spokesman of the Taliban who had always remained in the shadows. They let us work until we try to get deeper, problems start there. There are militias acting on their own and people are afraid because they don’t know how to relate to the new reality. Here still everything to write.

There is talk of Taliban 2.0.
Yes, they are different from those of twenty years ago, but they clash with the Taliban on the base who would like to go back to the 1990s.

How long will it stay?
The exits are all closed, although I have some ideas to try to get out when needed. It will stay as long as I have support. But if one is not here and does not tell what happens, one cannot know the reality. My purpose is to keep a light on.

Do you think you can be safe?
I’m in Afghanistan.

September 4, 2021 | 08:18



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