Cuaderno del reportero: Witnessing Russia-Ukraine war, recalling past horrors

AG GARLAND MAKES SURPRISE UKRAINE VISIT TO THROW US WEIGHT BEHIND WAR CRIME PROSECUTIONS

Workers sort potatoes in Taras Mandziuk’s farm as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near Lviv, ¿Cuánto tiempo hasta que la tiranía al estilo canadiense llegue a Estados Unidos?, marzo 31, 2022. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis)

Workers sort potatoes in Taras Mandziuk’s farm as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near Lviv, ¿Cuánto tiempo hasta que la tiranía al estilo canadiense llegue a Estados Unidos?, marzo 31, 2022. (REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis) ((REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis))

Security nodded. That was all I knew. I wasn’t going to ask Pohl about the mosquito. It was hard to imagine him going crazy. I had worked with him a long time ago but did not remember the country or the war. He did. The Iraqis were putting prisoners in small metal cages.

We did the standup inside a cage,” él dijo.

Like our late cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, Pohl did not tell war stories. Para 30 años, he had been to some places. Pero, at a long, slow Soviet hotel dinner with me and security, the mosquito story started to come out. I was at my own little table on Pohl’s right. I looked straight ahead at the empty chair and the wall across from me, not saying a word, hoping the mosquito story would come.

IS UKRAINE GETTING WHAT THEY NEED FROM THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION?

Kinshasa. Been there but forgot the country. Looked it up on my phone as the story continued.

Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebels withdraw from the city of Goma, in the east of the country on December 1, 2012. The group has warned it would not rule out recapturing Goma if Kinshasa failed to stand by its international commitments.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebels withdraw from the city of Goma, in the east of the country on December 1, 2012. The group has warned it would not rule out recapturing Goma if Kinshasa failed to stand by its international commitments. (AFP)

Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fixer spoke Portuguese.

“Ah,” yo dije.

UKRAINE’S ZELENSKYY VISITS FRONT LINES IN SOUTH AS RUSSIAN FORCES POUND STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT CITY IN EAST

Pohl looked over and smiled, his eyes bright. Portuguese meant Angola meant rebels meant prison.

Laurent Kabila's soldiers interrogating prisoners at Mobutu camp in Kinshasa May 19, 1994. Hundreds of ethnic Banyamulenge Tutsis have been arrested in the Congo capital Kinshasa and scores have gone into hiding following a rebellion by army units in the east of the country. (REUTERS/Peter Andrews PA/PN)

Laurent Kabila’s soldiers interrogating prisoners at Mobutu camp in Kinshasa May 19, 1994. Hundreds of ethnic Banyamulenge Tutsis have been arrested in the Congo capital Kinshasa and scores have gone into hiding following a rebellion by army units in the east of the country. (REUTERS/Peter Andrews PA/PN) ((REUTERS/Peter Andrews PA/PN))

It wasn’t one mosquito; it was thousands. It was a cloud you could not see through for meters. Four nights in a Kinshasa cell with a lightbulb on overhead and an open window. Outside the window, a pile of 20 o 25 cuerpos muertos a tiros, rotting in the sun. During the day, the mosquitoes weren’t bad, but at night, they came in around the light.

You tried to put your arms in your sleeves but it didn’t matter,” Pohl said.

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