Bolivian activist Domitilla Barrios de Chungarahas died. Working in the tin mines, she criticized the hard work and poor treatment of miners, and became a union leader. Denouncing military coups in Bolivia left her unable to return home for several years, and also brought her international attention. But, she complained, this was fickle:
When my book came out everyone was interested. Everyone loved the drama and the repression and our struggle. Now the fight is just as hard but it’s not so romantic, so it seems people have lost interest. I believe that the Bolivian people are going to continue struggling. Things aren’t going to stay as they are now. On the contrary, it’s going to get much harder. I think that’s why the US troops have arrived to build their runways.4 They’re not building that runway at Potosi so that we Bolivians can travel, as if we had the money! They’re building it so that they can control events in the whole of South America when things get really tough. I think that people in other countries who value democracy, freedom and who recognize that we need work, I think that they should do solidarity work with us. Now – not just when it’s romantic.
The Independent Diplomat tries to ensure that poor and neglected regions get access to the decision makers and international forums that make policy, such as the United Nations and the European Union.
In 2005 Mr. Ross attended a Security Council discussion of Kosovo with its prime minister at the time, Bajram Kosumi. “He wasn’t allowed to talk,” Mr. Ross recalled. “The U.N. didn’t even provide an interpreter for him, and we had to find an Albanian-American student to do the translation.” Nor, he said, could Mr. Kosumi respond to an attack by the Serbs. “It was very frustrating.”
And a classic example of the best sub-genre of obituary: extreme, larger than life, and hard to take seriously:
At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.
At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate.