Sunday, March 07, 2021
Passing: Richard Kastelein
by C. L. Cook - Pacific Free Press
March 8, 2021
Richard Kastelein died February 5th in his adopted Dutch home of Groningen. He is survived by his wife, Wieke, three children, Hannah, Marah, and Ishyah, and extended family in Holland and in his native Canada. Rich is also mourned by the many, many people whose lives he touched and changed for the better over the course of his wide travels in a far too brief lifetime.
In 2006, as the Bush II regime's Global War on Terror reared to its gruesome height, maiming and killing the common people of Iraq and Afghanistan, (among its multitude of other atrocities) I followed the brilliant but marginalized writings of American journalist in (voluntary) exile, Chris Floyd.
Floyd's site served up poetic evisceration of the horror-makers' doings, and of their lying accomplices in "mainstream" news. Empire Burlesque was then an island of moral clarity amidst a sea of hatred and insane media warmongering. I responded, writing long commentary below Chris' articles, finding in them an unwavering reminder and affirmation that not all was lost, and there existed yet those sharing my outraged indignation.
My comments were answered by the site's manager, Rich Kastelein. He had discovered Chris Floyd's work at the Moscow Times and in typical Rich fashion went further than commenting, he contacted Floyd, convincing him to host his own site, one tech. savvy Rich could set up.
At that time, Rich was hosting his own news aggregator site, Atlantic Free Press. I suggested, (or was it Rich's idea?) there was much more room for the kind of work he was doing at AFP, and perhaps a sister-site, Pacific Free Press could compliment and expand the effort to bring alternative news to counteract, in some small measure, the distorted view of reality presented by a corporate media bent on war and profit at all costs.
I'm sure I suggested my friend, Ingmar Lee, a gifted writer then living in the south of India, could join in with an "Indian Ocean Free Press" too. Though an Indian Ocean Free Press never happened, Rich did become friends with Ingmar, naturally setting him up with his own website.
During its run, Atlantic Free Press published the work of Chris Floyd, and a host of like-minded activist/writers, putting into circulation more than ten thousand articles, and publishing books too. This in a time before the plethora of views on all matters found on the internet today was common.
Though Rich moved on to great success in other areas of interest, primarily the workings of new media and monetary technologies, he never stopped supporting my work at Pacific Free Press, and made possible Gorilla Radio's move from parochial university radio show to a globally available online presence.
And that was what Rich did where ever he went; enabling people to do great things and make a difference where they were. And that's part of his legacy with me; the Rich I knew. But, he was much more than that.
Yes, a blue water sailor who made multiple Atlantic crossings; certainly a media maven and technology early adopter; an adventurer, grabbing at the opportunities life threw in his path for sure; and enthusiastic raconteur, always willing to enlighten and entertain with stories of where he'd been and what he'd learned, but most importantly he was a husband and father, a family man.
Just a couple of months ago, Rich dropped me a line. He wanted to set up a Skype call to talk about a possible future venture involving Gorilla Radio. He thought we could together make it something bigger, move it on to a larger stage, because there still were too few voices talking about the important things; the injustice, the wars, and the criminals running this sad world with impunity.
It was, I see now, a coming of full circle for Rich and me. Now, I'll have to go back to reread and try understand all the fevered ideas and possibilities he outlined in our correspondence.
Sail on Rich, keeping an eye on the horizon.
March 8, 2021