Friday, April 30, 2010

Translated Foreword to Agostinelli's INVASORES

Alejandro Agostinelli is sharing the English translation of the foreword by Daniel Riera to his recent book INVASORES (Invaders, which we reviewed here only a few months ago. See also our review at readers of INEXPLICATA. Miracles do happen, and this worthy book may yet find its way to a publisher interested in a U.S./U.K./AU/NZ edition!

Destination: Earth
by Daniel Riera
(foreword to Invasores / Invaders)
Let us imagine that an alien is reading this book. Let each reader choose the alien biotype that he or she likes the most. It does not matter, in this case, what the alien looks like, or what its planet of origin is, or whether its intentions are those of a pacifist or a warmonger. It does not matter how it feeds itself,if indeed it needs to, or how it mates, if indeed it does so, or how its excretory system works, if indeed it has one. Nor does it matter what the design of its spaceships might be, nor what technology it is that makes them work. It does not matter where the alien is reading this book: whether on its home planet, aboard its spaceship, or at the base that aliens, as everybody knows, have in Roswell. The only thing that matters, in this case, is that it is an alien and that it is reading this book. There is no doubt this book will be a must in every alien library, and I am not saying this because of this book's stories on aliens: after all, any fairly informed alien is familiar with them, or has at least heard about them. I was in fact saying that this book will undoubtedly be a must in every alien library because this is actually a great book on humans. And if the aliens are planning to either visit us peacefully or invade us, this book may turn out to be a very useful way for them to know about us.

The raw material for the work of good journalists (and Alejandro Agostinelli is one of the best I know) is people, and not politics, economy, sports, art, science or aliens. Good journalists from planet Earth never forget that each account they describe, each story they narrate, is about human beings.

In October, 2002, the great expert Ryszard Kapuscinski gave an unforgettable seminar in Argentina, the content of which was published in its entirety in the book Los cinco sentidos del periodista (The Five Senses of the Journalist). Back then, Kapuscinski said the following:

Journalism is, in my opinion, among the most gregarious professions that exist, because, without others, we cannot do anything. Without the help, the participation, the opinion and thoughts of others, we do not exist. The fundamental condition of this job is this understanding with the other: we do - and we are - what others let us do and be. No modern society can exist without journalists, but we journalists cannot exist without society.

Therefore, a fundamental condition that is needed in order to perform this job is the capacity to function together with others. In most cases, we become slaves in situations in which we lose our autonomy, when we depend on others to take us to a secluded place, or tell us about the object of our research. A journalist cannot put himself above those with whom he is going to work: on the contrary, he must be a peer, someone like them, in order to get close, understand and then express his expectations and hopes.

Listening to others. That's what it's all about. And listening with attention and respect. Learning from others. With or without aliens inbetween. Two brothers miss their deceased father; a father loses his daughter and copes with that pain the best he can; a woman gets tired of the city routine and of her husband and leaves with her daughter for some far-away place; another woman faces the impossibility of having a second child; a group of buddies finds a way to have fun. The problems of people who have seen flying saucers, have talked to or made love with an alien, are very much like the problems of those of us who haven’t had those kinds of experiences. And we all want to know why things happen to us. Particularly when we hurt.

Alejandro Agostinelli has devoted a good part of his life to researching these kinds of cases: I know for a fact that he could write twenty books as good as this one without repeating one single story. As a reader, I would like him to do so. At first he was a credulous ufologist, just like some of his interviewees; then, he became a militant skeptic, like those refuters of legends that Alejandro Dolina immortalized in his Crónicas del Ángel Gris (The Gray Angel’s Chronicles). Through his journey on both sides, Agostinelli discovered that the more his passion grew for alien case studies, the more he held on to our planet and the beings that inhabit it. He started wondering, then, why aliens are seen by those who see them; why these people look up to the sky to see aliens, and why, finally, they find what they were looking for. Invasores is made out of this wonderful material. It is a book conceived and written to be enjoyed by readers all over the universe, but, above all, by those who reside on Earth.