Monday, December 1, 2008

Emergency Sex

Another book I am currently reading is "Emergency Sex (and other desperate measures) - True Stories from a War Zone" by Kenneth Cain, Heidi Postlewait and Andrew Thomson.

It recounts their experiences as aid workers (and colleagues), principally for the United Nations and the International Red Cross, in various war zones around the world between 1990 and 1998 - Cambodia, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Liberia.

Personal and harrowing accounts of how we dismally failed to prevent massacres and genocide, personal tragedies and gross ineptitudes. How the “international community” withdrew from situations which the “international community” could have averted. How we only returned in the aftermath of these “situations” to investigate the mass graves, the war criminals, the strategic failures, to assuage our own guilt.

Wading in the muddy pit of a mass grave to extract a body only for the arm to become detached from a headless corpse is not my idea of a fun job ...

Seemingly, the post-mortems have done little to teach us anything.

The same stories are repeating themselves around the world - Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Burma, D.R. Congo, Darfur, Chad, Somalia (still) etc.

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