Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, February 14, 2005

So what am I doing here?

I've had a complaint from a family member stating that I'm not saying enough about what is happening to me personally. Well, that was partly because I didn't feel I had much to report ... but that changed today: Some of my co-workers (a field team doing work in the south of the country) have been kidnapped!

So let me clarify a few points:

Why am I back in the Middle East? I got a job for an Iraqi environmental organization called Nature-Iraq.

So why am I in Amman and not Baghdad? Because I'm the only westerner working for the group and right now it is rather dangerous for me (and for them) if I go there. But, I have to admit, it's a bummer to work in isolation like this ... plugged in to my job simply by a rather precarious internet connection.

So what do I do? Well, my job description is "Technical Editor" ... essentially the group needs to have reports and proposals written in English ... so I correct everyone's English. Ho-Hum, not very glamourous ... but I am learning alot about the environment in Iraq. And I'm not currently facing any kidnapping risks.

I am, of course (and much to the chagrin of my family, I'm sure), champing at the bit to go back to Baghdad and work with the team. When I asked recently if I could go in, my boss said, "Absolutely not!" The field team got kidnapped a few days ago (I just learned today), but apparently we know they are safe and it will just be a question of a ransom. Kidnappings in Iraq generally follow two paths ... beheadings or ransoms. The south of the country, where the team was taken, is generally safer but there are still alot of criminal elements (probably only fostered by the sky-rocketing unemployment in Iraq) operating there. My boss was fairly positive that he would get everyone back safely but I'm keeping all my fingers and toes crossed.


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