The Zanzibar Chest: A Memoir of Love and War

Feeding The Beast

Aidan Hartley


One day in the early 1990s, while covering the famine in Somalia for Reuters, Aidan Hartley found himself watchng a television soundrnan who was on his knees, poking his furry microphone boom into the face of an old man lying stretched out on the earth. The man, whose eyes were closed, lay absolutely silent until, with a faint exhalation of breath, he died. The soundman waited a few seconds, switched off his microphone, clambered to his feet, and said briskly: ‘I’ve been wanting to do that. I’ve captured the sound of death on tape.’

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