This is the cover of “Vagabonding in the Axis of Evil - By thumb in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan”, my first book to be properly published and available internationally after ten years of do-it-yourself literature.
The book is consciously aimed at providing evidence of the hospitality I experienced while hitch-hiking across the Islamic World, during the first stage of my on going round the world hitch-hiking expedition. In those lands nicked “the Axis of Evil” by George Bush, where mass media only predicates terrorism and violence, I would stumble day by day upon the most genuine and touching samples of human kindness. These pages are a vehicle of understanding, a call for empathy and an attempt to recover the kaleidoscopic diversity of one of the world’s most stunning regions.
250 pages. 200 B&W photographs. 6 maps.
TEXT ON THE COUNTERLID
On May 1st, 2005 Juan Villarino, an Argentinean hitch-hiker, hitches a ride in a sailboat from Belfast harbor to Scotland, with his steps bound for Middle East. Borrowing a snail’s strategy, he carries all he needs in a backpack, and stretches his thumb along both dusty roads and highways. He possesses no credit car or bullet proof jacket. His goal: to cross the heart of the Islamic World solely by hitch-hiking, in an attempt to prove that hospitality sprawls in a region portrayed as terrorist by the establishment media. Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan… As he moves across the vast globe Juan lives deliciously absurd events. He enters Iraq at night like a homeless, but ends up teaching hitch-hiking lessons in the Kurdish Parliament. In Teheran he sojourns with the Intellectual resistance against Iran’s Ayatollahs regime. He crosses Afghanistan village by village, having tea in a minefield, becoming a postman for a day, and dropping by a NATO base to fill up his backpack with foodstuff. While he travels, his pen frames those average people who sweat and work under any flag but never (ever) inhabit the headlines. The outcome is the book you hold in your hands: an ode to movement and a precise chronicle about one of the less travelled zones on Earth. Today, Juan keeps hitch-hiking the world and writing books by the roadside.