photo courtesy of the amazing © Nils Schwarz
My name is Bastian, I am a photographer and filmmaker from Germany and the very proud owner of a little yellow camper van with a bed just long enough to stretch out my short legs. My van is French, a real bon-vivant and goes by the name of Alphonse – or Fonsi for short.
Over the years, Fonsi has taken me to beautiful places, allowing me to fall asleep with a view of the stars, mediating unexpected, rich conversations, often in places that had until recently been entirely alien and foreign to me. You could therefore say – with ample justification – that my view of the world is intimately tied to a hollow, rusty metal cage on four wheels. It wouldn’t emphasise your romantic side though.
The podcast was started during the pandemic, to travel without moving.
When everything was restricted, closed, or untouchable.
And it is staying true to this idea also in its second season.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world has seen a turning point.
It also painfully exposed the flawed Western view of Ukraine as a satellite of Russia:
Russia’s appropriation of Ukrainian culture under the umbrella of “Soviet Russian” had been met with little to no opposition outside of Ukraine until then. It is the narrative which is the very basis of Wladimir Putin’s war propaganda and his pretext for this war.
Our support for Ukraine, therefore, has a strong cultural dimension as well.
To understand their iron will for independence and freedom, we should understand Ukraine’s history and unique culture better. This better understanding is essential to deflate the wrongful and conceited Russian claims to Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Now and in the future.
With this in mind, I will invite Ukrainians into the Yellow Van every week.
To hear their stories from their own lips - without mediation.
To celebrate Ukrainian culture and be the richer for it.
Join us every Thursday at 9 pm CET.