2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

R&K Insider: North Vietnam’s war veterans and what it’s like to be a fixer in Yemen

This week on R&K, testimonials from North Vietnam’s war veterans, talking to a fixer in Yemen, and a San Francisco Happy Hour with legendary hip-hop producer Dan the Automator

This post originally appeared on December 7, 2018, in R&K’s weekly newsletter. Read the archives and subscribe to the newsletter.


It’s Friday, we’re ankle-deep into December, and the internet is awash in wrap-ups and lists, parsing the best and worst of the year in writing, music, memes, and scandals.

But we’re not on holiday programming yet. This week, we published a photo essay on North Vietnamese veterans. Raul Roman and Rafe H. Andrews note that, “American veterans have a lot in common with the North Vietnamese, but Americans know very little about their old enemy.” They write that, for many in Vietnam and the U.S., the war isn’t really over, “The Vietnamese cannot see war anymore, but many of them still feel it and, sometimes, they hear it.”

According to Vietnamese officials, three million Vietnamese still suffer from health problems related to exposure to Agent Orange, and 40,000 Vietnamese have died in unexploded ordnance incidents since the war ended. As in the U.S., the war remains a divisive topic, and many veterans feel invisible. The researchers collected testimonies and images of more than 100 North Vietnamese veterans and their families, accounts the authors say may never be printed in Vietnam under the current one-party regime, which stifles discussion of the war.

Today, we published the latest installment of Unbylined, our Q&A series with the fixers who work behind the scenes to make international news stories possible. Aleesa Mann spoke with Adel Al-Hasani, a journalist and fixer in Yemen who has been helping international correspondents report on Yemen’s civil warthe world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to U.N. officialssince it began in 2015. He discussed the dangers of his work, the time he secured an interview with Yemen’s president, and why he no longer works with freelancers. Check out our previous Unbylined Q&As with fixers from Iraq, Afghanistan, China, and Venezuela, and elsewhere, here.

On a lighter note, over on The Trip podcast this week, Nathan Thornburgh drinks smooth Negronis with legendary hip-hop producer Dan “the Automator” Nakamura. Dan talks about his unlikely path to hip-hop immortality, what’s changed and hasn’t in the Bay Area, Cambodian pho, and the virtues of not giving a f***. Read the transcript, or listen on Apple here and on Stitcher here.

And on our sister site, Explore Parts Unknown, we published stories from Peru, Vietnam, and Jerusalem. Spend a perfect day in Lima, read about 8 essential Vietnamese dishes, and learn all about the etrog—a citrus fruit that sells for a small fortune in Israel.

Last, here’s what we’ve been reading and sharing this week: Pamela Anderson’s take on French (and global) politics; George H.W. Bush’s hard line on broccoli; this great mini-doc on the Navajo Reservation’s DIY heavy metal scene; and, like everyone else who has seen the internet, this coyote-repelling dog outfit.


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