By: Peter van Riel
An evening with journalist Step Vaessen on Dutch television has generated good selling figures of her new and first book called Jihad met Sambal. A horrible book title, if I may say so.
As guest in the renowned television show Zomergasten she got the opportunity to talk frankly about her life. And she did. From her childhood on the sheep farm of her father, to her period of activism in the so called punk movement of the eighties and her first years in Indonesia. Step Vaessen (1965) has always been an involved journalist, her reports from the warzones in Asia and the disaster areas in Aceh were filled with human interest. She managed to bring the news through the eyes of a single victim; a fishermanâ€™s woman who lost her children in the tsunami, a young Australian who nearly got killed in the Bali assaults, or a mother with two daughters who tried to survive the extreme life of scavengers in the outskirts of Jakarta. Often women, yes.
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