In the line of duty

This morning I went to the office of my supervisor and he told me that the Chief of Party for a fellow NGO working in Pakistan had been assassinated. I'm not talking accidental bombing or anything like that. His killers cornered his vehicle as he was going to work and gunned down his vehicle killing him and his driver. I literally got chills all over when I heard the news and newspaper reports confirmed the story. It really bothers me that a person who was going about doing his work, trying to do something to help people in a part of the world he didn't have to be in would be targetted and killed so brutally. There is definitely a group of aid workers who thrive best in violatile areas and personally I don't understand it. I totally don't have the stomach for high risk areas (keeping in mind I'm working on a project in IRAQ), I'm all about maximizing my odds of living 'til tomorrow!

This news was especially difficult to comprehend as I am constantly thinking of a friend who is currently in the Congo and my last chat with her involved just how close the rebels were to her area. As someone who has been in the field, I try not to get over dramatic about security issues, but knowing how weak many NGO security measures tend to be and having spent one or two nights listening to gunfire or just anxious about robberies, I definitely wonder.

When one is a soldier, I think you go into the job knowing that you are willing to die for whatever cause you are fighting for or in defense of your nation, but I don't know if this is necessarily the same mentality that aid workers and other expats (especially journalists) have when they go to high-risk areas. Is reporting a news story or providing aid something worth dying for? I don't know the answer, but I can only hope that those who have died, made the most of their lives and lived and worked with as much passion as they could muster.

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