Free The Five
Name: Antony Loewenstein
Home: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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posted by Antony Loewenstein at 7/24/2005 12:49:00 pm
Thank you for this link, Antony. It makes for interesting reading. There are indeed many forgotten conflicts. Two years ago, Oxfam International had an international campaign called Beyond the Headlines to raise awareness on this. Unfortunately, amid the frenzy of fear, it did not really get the attention that it needed. The press release for this can be found here.I must confess to feeling guilty about choosing to go to Afghanistan rather than one of the less sexy conflicts. Particularly when I have two friends who have deliberately left Afghanistan to go to Liberia as they feel the need is greater there. But I am a relatively n00b (newbie) humanitarian worker, and the hardcore African conflicts in Sudan, Liberia, Congo, Somalia and elsewhere scare the bejesus out of me. I am definitely taking the easy option out.
Vasco,I doubt Afghanistan will be the easy option, especially since the country appears to be taking a turn for the worse in the last months. You're doing what your heart and head tells you to do, no more, no less.And hopefully helping many people in the process. Just don't get caught in the Western aid worker trap. ie. these gigs become a career, big money and big luxury. All rather ironic and offensive, frankly.
Generally speaking, aid workers are not paid particularly well given the qualifications that are required and the risk aspects of the roles undertaken.On the flip side, there are 'international consultants' that do work under World Bank, Asian Development Bank and AusAID contracts. These people, in my mind, are not aid workers, but consultants. And they get six figure salaries tax free and business class airfares.On the other hand, I know of people ride on donkeys, sleep on mats, wash from buckets and eat rice with pebbles in it.Personally, I am not into matyrdom, and I think that sleeping on the floor on a mat (as I did for five months last year) is incredibly painful and unsustainable. I seek the middle way in this.
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