Monday, June 18, 2007

Just for Starters...

Via Chap, a story about a highly unusual, dynamic, and driven Scotsman named Rory Stewart:

In 2002 Rory Stewart walked across war-torn Afghanistan, alone and in winter. In 2004 he served as deputy governor to a province in southern Iraq. Now Stewart has returned with a heroic charge: Save the Old City of Kabul from destruction and remind a nation of its former glory.


Stewart's interest in hero figures stems back to a childhood that's absurdly precocious and doesn't seem quite real. His entire life has the feel of an Edwardian adventure novel. His father, Brian Stewart, one of a long line of self-sufficient Scottish Highlanders, fought on the beaches of Normandy before becoming deeply involved in counterinsurgency operations against guerrillas fighting the British colonial government of what is now Malaysia. He worked as a diplomat and learned seven Asian languages and dialects. Rory's mother, Sally, an economist and academic, once crossed the Hindu Kush herself, driving a jeep from London to Malaysia for a teaching position at the University of Malay. Rory grew up partly in Malaysia after being born in Hong Kong in 1973. When he and his father weren't ambling into the rain forest to build makeshift rafts and float down jungle streams, they were traveling with Sally to Dayak villages in Borneo to visit friends and stay in longhouses.

And that’s just the roots of the man’s childhood. One would expect an individual raised by educated, adventurous parents to turn out the same, and so he has. Stewart, a man who has accomplished much in his short life (“In 2002, when Stewart walked from Herat, in western Afghanistan, to Kabul, in the east, he did so mostly by himself and in the dead of winter…” and wrote a best-seller about the adventure, too), is heading up a somewhat quixotic mission to save Kabul’s Old Town.

A most intriguing read, this is. I decided to post this as a stand-alone opener to the day as I've been chasing links and reading about the amazing Mr. Stewart for the past two hours. I don't expect you to be quite as obsessive, Gentle Reader, but you could do a lot worse today than stopping to read the NatGeo the very least.

1 comment:

  1. Rory Stewart sounds very interesting - maybe I will add him to my summer reading list. Wait, do I have a summer reading list?


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