Book Review # 1: Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia By: Garry Leech
Beyond Bogota represents a firsthand experience and witness into the corrupt and relentless drug war that has been and currently is taking place in Colombia. Author Garry Leech has the talent to expose and illustrate the often untold and rarely vocalized point-of-view of the war on drugs and terror that Colombians deal with daily. Garry, is an independent journalist who has spent around 30 years traveling and 8 years residing in rural Colombian areas while researching the inter-workings of Colombian conflict zones as well as the countries connection and dependence on drugs and drug trafficking. As the story unfolds and the truths are reveled, as a reader you are able to feel Garry’s passion, dedication and love for what he does and why he does it. Garry states in his Note from the Author that one of his main, and more personal motivations behind the creation of this book is “ I couldn’t stop thinking that id anything happened to me, either during that detention or at any other time in Colombia, I wouldn’t be around to explain to Owen [his son], when he grew up, what sort of work his father did.” (Leech, ix) Though his son was a strong influence, other aspects also drove Garry to his decision of putting his thoughts into a book rather than articles and publications. “I have selected those people and places that I hope will provide the reader with a relatively comprehensive portrayal of life in Colombia’s rural conflict zones.” (Leech, x) And, as he had hopped, I fully believe that he has delivered an alternate and accurate representation of life with the voices of those that have been silenced by oppression and fear over the many years that this conflict has remained relentlessly. Garry tells his story and shares his past experiences as he spends 9 hours in a detention controlled by Colombian FARC guerrillas, all of which are full armed with AK-47 assault rifles....
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