Discovering Varindra Vittachi’s “Between the Guns”
From Oswald Norton:
An Important Book on Varindra Vittachi’s time in UNICEF available in Subud WSA Archives
When I was researching Sofyan Brugger’s life and his relationship with Varindra Vittachi, I read, in Varindra’s New York Times September 1993 obituary, that he had written a book with stories about his time as Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund. It was calledBetween the guns: children as a zone of peace and had been published posthumously in 1993.
I met Varindra when we lived in California in the 1980s and had read most of his books about Subud. This was the first that I’d know of concerning his work at UNICEF.
I was able to obtain a copy through the interlibrary lending system at my local library and was so happy when I received it. The book is full of Varindra’s stories of the courageous UNICEF members who worked tirelessly, during many, many conflicts, to negotiate between warring parties, avenues of peace through which medicine, food and essential supplies could be delivered to children and the mothers caring for them.
I thought that this book needed to be a part of our archives, so I contacted Daniela Moneta, Subud WSA archivist. She ordered a used copy for herself. After it arrived, she sent me an email with the following details:
“My copy of Between the Guns arrived and I asked the Vittachi family if we could digitize it and make it available to the members on the WSA Archives website. They agreed.“
The book has now been digitized by the archive team and is available for to all Subud members to read once they register for access with the WSA archives. To gain access to these archives, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While working with Daniela Moneta on this I also learned that the WSA Archives also has a film on Varindra titled Tarzie: Fragment of an Ordinary Man. A part of this film includes him talking about his time at UNICEF, and in particular, some of the incidents around Zones of Peace. Plus, there are many other stories about Varindra’s life you may want to read about in the WSA archives.
Oswald Norton is a member of Subud Greater Seattle.
(Photo credit: Members at the 1st World Congress in Coombe Springs (1959); Varindra Vittachi, Hubert Ramzi Windler, John Bob Whiffin, John Conway, and Ludwig Macher. (Photo courtesy of the WSA Archives))