Captured Hearts

Chris Schwartz, an American academic who teaches journalism in this leafy Central Asian capital, was waiting for a bus near a colossal female statue dedicated to revolutionary dead and a shuttered bar called Fat Boys when the expensive black SUV glided up. Three men sprang out. They grabbed a startled young woman on the sidewalk and began dragging her toward the car. She pleaded for them to stop. About 30 commuters at the bus stop watched impassively.

“Only myself and a 12-year-old boy intervened,” Schwartz recalls. “The boy decided to just follow us and record the situation with his mobile phone, which was enough to drive the main guy’s two accomplices into a panic.”

The woman’s brother arrived. Schwartz helped him convince the abductors to free the woman. The leader of the assailants furiously threatened Schwartz. But Schwartz caught a flicker of shame in his eyes. “He was conflicted,” Schwartz says of the attempted daytime abduction in April. “He was wavering.”

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Human Journey

Meet the Author
Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek’s 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk is a multiyear experiment in slow journalism. Moving at the beat of his footsteps, Salopek is walking the pathways of the first humans who migrated out of Africa in the Stone Age and made the Earth ours. Along the way he is covering the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by giving voice to the people who inhabit them every day. His words, as well as his photographs, video, and audio, are creating a global record of human life at the start of a new millennium as told by villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely make the news. Join the journey at and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @OutofEdenWalk.