Imagining a Different World – For Andre Vltchek- 1962-2020

andre vltchek

[ I received the news late last night from Counterpunch- one of my favorite columnists- activist, visionary, poet, philosopher, friend of the downtrodden, Andre Vltchek, had slumped into the seat of a taxicab, his wife next to him, while traveling somewhere in Turkey, and never woke up.  I truly did not want to believe it- in a worldwide desert terrain of corrupted and degraded “journalism,” he, like John Pilger, was a refreshing exception, and relentlessly traveled far and wide, to many of the world’s troubled spots, to give voice to the downtrodden, exploited, murdered and butchered.  But it turned out to be true (much as we read about the much younger Michael Brooks’ passage only a few weeks earlier).  His last quote from the article I read (  seemed to sum up the overarching truth he always wanted to reveal- that he witnessed human suffering in nation after nation, and, most significantly, his belief that this world and civilization itself would never heal “until Western imperialism ceased to exist.”  There is some speculation that this may well be a political murder.  I wrote this tribute poem remembering the one-of-a-kind Andre Vltchek.  © Monish R Chatterjee 2020]


I had admired your visions, your gentle rebukes

Your poet’s touch even in strident reprimands of avarice and plunder

Your scouring the earth’s most desperate places to find human stories

Your unbounded compassion towards the neglected and tyrannized.


I had admired these at a distance.  During these times of human

Degeneration carried to extremes, worldwide, with often their origins

In the imperial headquarters of the West.  To say you were courageous

Brave, outspoken, visionary- these all would be quite inadequate.


Among a handful of noble, humane spokespeople in times of aimless

Gluttony, you took on a special place in my hierarchy of social

Responsibility.  I once wrote about such illustrious predecessors-

Vidal, Zinn, Vonnegut, Terkel- sentinels, I called them.  And in that


Listing I did not include any from my own corner of the earth, India.

I mentioned one or more big-hearted, lesser known ones such as

John Ross, spending his last days among those fighting drug wars

Imposed from Mexico’s imperial Northern neighbor.  You, Andre


Made a place somewhere in that hierarchy.  You did not pick up

The gun as a revolutionary, as Che did.  You did not stand and deliver

Powerful and persuasive speeches, as did Malcolm or Frederick.

You did not go on exile to build up an army of expatriates to fight


The greatest empire of history, upon which the sun supposedly never

Set, as did India’s Subhas.  But in an age of technological breakthroughs

And instant gratification, you were a warrior on the ancient, evolved

Ground, your heart resonated with creatures without possessions


Your idyllic campaigns were much like those of an Assange and a Medea

For someone from a slightly older generation, you stood out as a symbol

Of hope- that ideals of humanity and indeed a different world

Are very much alive and well.  And I always trusted I would read more.


So it hit me like a ton of bricks, scrolling down the Counterpunch

Headlines- Andre Vltchek and “death” on the same line.  I would not

Believe it; like the news of Michael Brooks only a few weeks earlier-

Incredulous!  Not this poet, this philosopher, this itinerant traveler


Speaking for the voiceless.  But bad news does often prove correct

And indeed the good are often gone too soon, while Kissinger

With the blood of innumerable innocents on his hands, lives on.

Back in the 1980s, they made the memorable film titled


My Dinner with Andre.  Ever a lover of great conversation, I have

Savored great moments of conversation on film, including many

On the Satyajit Ray masterpieces.  Without you to guide the planet

To safety, it will forever remain my wish- my own elusive

Unrealized My Dinner with Andre, the dreamer and idealist.

Dr. Monish R. Chatterjee, a professor at the University of Dayton who specializes in applied optics, has contributed more than 130 papers to technical conferences, and has published more than 75 papers in archival journals and conference proceedings, in addition to numerous reference articles on science.  He has also authored several literary essays and four books of literary translations from his native Bengali into English (Kamalakanta, Profiles in Faith, Balika Badhu, and Seasons of Life).  Dr. Chatterjee believes strongly in humanitarian activism for social justice.

  Monish R Chatterjee © 2020



Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

The Angels of Gaza

(Based on true and almost true events) the weeping is an immense angel,the weeping is an immense violin,the tears muzzle the wind,nothing else is heard but the weeping. From "Casida…


For the sake of Godhe saidhis voice in tremor. For sake of the Earth and moon.For wind over trees.For the sake of mirror-wateron a moonlit lake. He shaped his heartinto…

Words I Can’t Find Anymore

Children eating grass, innocent, hungry and lostMothers soaked in red, wombs tremble in terror Searching for words I may write of the pain withinSearching for words I may speak of…


I sit still, lethargicAnd add new wordsTo the great tapestryOf female sorrows From a distant cityOver the ruinsOf a war he never foughtA boy cries, there is no wayBack to…

Operation Gold Rush

It's all about the gold.Hasn't it always been?The allure, the beauty of goldin whatever form it takes —wealth, power, fame, ironclad security. In Gaza the rush is on.Tanks, bombs, missiles,…


In the human worldwe have heroesand villainsand cowards. Those who defend lifetaking risks aboveand beyond self interestthose who destroy lifeand those we do not carewho play games ofselfish detachment and…

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News