The International Assistance Mission (IAM) began in 1966 in Afghanistan and except for a brief 3 month period in 2001, they have been there ever since. Their work primarily focuses on eye care, although they provide other services as well. Their current executive director is Dick Frans who is based in Kabul. I think one could call them unique since Afghanistan is the only place they work. Frans expresses their approach this way. ” Our faith motivates and inspires us but we do not proselytize.”
Most of those who serve do so at their own expense or through the generosity of others. On August 5, a 10 member team plus an Afghan driver was returning to Kabul after an arduous 2 weeks working in the remote Parun valley. Initial reports said they were surrounded by armed Taliban and brutally murdered by gunfire and hand grenades. As further information emerges, it appears that the act could have been perpetrated by armed bandits. It’s possible the truth will never surface or if so, not for some time. I would also doubt whether those responsible will ever be brought to justice.
I have read several articles about this tragedy and the more I read the more devastated I become. Those ten who were killed were quite a disparate group. There were six Americans, a German, a Brit and two Afghans who served as a guard and a cook. Their ages ranged from two grandfathers in their 60′s to a 25-year-old photographer/videographer and the 24-year-old cook. One, Karen Woo, was a London surgeon who gave up a lucrative career to serve. The senior member was Dan Terry who arrived in country in 1971 and met and married his wife and reared three daughters in the country. Tom Little was much like Cherry and had been in the country for four decades spearheading the mission’s work in providing eye care. The group’s junior was member Brian Carderelli from Harrisonburg, Va. Both of his parents had worked there and he knew somewhat the potential dangers he faced. When the opportunity came he grabbed it. Ironically he was putting together an album of photos entitled “The Beauty-It’s Not All War.”
Other team members were dentist Thomas Grams of Durango, Co, nurse Glenn Lapp of Lancaster, Pa and an interpreter from Germany Daniela Beyer. The Afghans killed were Mahram Ali, a guard and a young cook named Ahmed Jawed.
Certainly all had calculated the risks involved and chose to take those risks. Beyond the incalculable losses felt by the families and friends are the heavy toll on IAM’s work. At the least, much of it is in limbo. The attack was one of the worst carried out on foreign aid workers in many years.
Heartfelt prayers go out to those impacted by these losses, especially those closest to these who gave their all.
- Charity plans to stay in Afghanistan despite murders of 10 aid workers (foxnews.com)
- Karen Woo Remembered At Memorial Service (news.sky.com)
Guess I could have said apologetic regime but maybe I’ll save that one for another day. The latest apology should really not be a surprise. Obama himself has done a ” masterful” job at apologizing all over the world to all sorts of folks for all sorts of things.
For the most recent administration example we can thank Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor ( what a mouthful of a job title that is) Michael Posner. For what did he apologize and to whom? The what is of course, the evil Arizona law which no one in the Obama Administration has apparently read, even Homeland Secretary Napolitano. But she still would not have signed the law. Try and figure that one out. For the who of the apology, why that noted paragon of human rights, China.
Bill O’Reilly had a couple of great comment about Posner’s apology on his show last night. I really enjoyed his comment that China would probably like to have Posner replace Hilary as Secretary of State. The other comment was much more troubling and more reality based. He posed the question as to how China handles its illegal immigrants. Hint, it isn’t with a law like Arizona’s nor is it necessarily via deportation.
Arizona Senators McCain and Kyl took issue with posner’s mea culpa for the United States and demanded an apology. Isn’t that great, demanding an apology for an apology. Shucks, they may get one. That is one thing the Obama Admnistration is quite good at doing.
While we are on the subject, wonder what other countries are due an apology? Let us see. Maybe to Great Britain for winning the Revolutionary War, Germany for WWI & WWII, Russia for buying Alaska ( Obama might like that one) France for the Louisiana Purchase- not paying enough the list goes on and on and on and on.
Sort of staying with the Saturday theme, this will approach the topic from a different perspective and maybe a more positive one at that. The place is Winston-Salem,NC or rather a part of that city known as Old Salem where an old tradition will take place on Easter Sunday, April 4. It is a tradition that goes back to 1771, predating the birth of these United States.
This tradition is the Easter Sunrise service in a place known as God’s Acre. In German the term is Gottesacker or field of God. It is actually a burial ground for Moravians who lived in Winston-Salem. The site is organized by choirs; all married men buried together, all married women buried together and so on.
The site is the focal point for an annual sunrise service attended by thousands every year.My wife and I have atended twice. Our first visit was as really young married couple while the second wasas chaperones for a rambunctious but wonderful group of young people who still have a special place in our hearts. Both times the service was quite moving and seemed to fill us with a great sense of awe and reverence. In spite of the crowds there was very little noise other than the musical communication between the groups of strategically positioned Moravian musicians.
Since the service is a “sunrise” service, one obviously has to arise rather early, to make a bit of a sacrifice compared to one’s normal routine. That plus the locale plus the local history of over 200 years added to the fact that this is one incredible event that one is celebrating made our two trips very, very unique and worshipful.
I had actually attended a sunrise service around 10 years earlier while still in high school. That event was also very special but presented me with a unique “gift” that I have kept to this day. At that service I was stung by some type of insect and came oh so close to going into anaphylactic shock. Yep, that is when I developed my allergy to bee venom, an affliction that I still have some 40+ years later.
So, if you have never had the blessing of attending a sunrise service, I encourage you to avail yourself of that opportunity this Easter season. And, some day, I hope you make the trek to Old Salem for this event will show you that our Moravian friends are known for much more than their culinary talents.
…..wasn’t it supposed to be over and done by now? Something about December and deadlines and agreements and how Russia has smoothed it all over and wasn’t all the Arab world going to fall in love with us? You remember the speech in Egypt that was so great, do you not?
And just the other day, Defense Secretary Gates held out hope for the sanctions to work. And now Hilary has given an interview that kinda says Iran is not the real problem since they don’t have a bomb,yet.
Don’t I remember somebody using the phrase “axis of evil” and being roundly condemned for it. Why that cowboy diplomacy that makes the world hate us,how dare he!
And yet, today I read that Iranian President Ahmadinejad has told his atomic agency to significantly enrich the country’s stockpile of uranium. And German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg referred to the farce being played out just like in the past. “The outstretched hand of the international community has not only been taken but pushed back.”
What did Herr Guttenberg mean do you think? We will agree with the UN plan maybe says Iran. If more sanctions were imposed it would a 4th round, if you’re counting, and neither Russia nor China seems all that excited about it.
I just feel that I have written all of this before and yet here we are again. Wonder what Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel think about it all? Are they watching closely?” Bet your sweet bippy” they are. In fact he is in Russia as we write on a “long-planned trip.” Wonder what they will discuss?
Smart, that they are. NCIS fans will note that our own Timothy McGee is a MIT grad and we all know how smart he is. I actually had a reasonably close acquaintance, now deceased, who was a MIT guy and he was definitely smart. But sometimes, well, let’s just allow Professor Noam Chomsky to speak a little for himself and see what we think.
Dr Chomsky is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts university. He spoke recently at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco ( good choice for a liberal activist) and talked about what he sees are parallels between the United States today and Germany in the 1920′s, in its pre – Nazi days. Brief aside, aren’t we all getting weary of the Nazi comparisons from all sides? Now back to the professor who sort of covered himself on his analogy in advance, by saying it was not perfect. But onward he went.
He alluded to the right-wing media as actually having substantive content, but labeled it aa crazy content. His point seemed to be that if those who heed the right wingers don;t get answers from a more legitimate source that the country cpuld be headed down a treacherous path towards demagouery? The prescriptin he seeme dto advocate is that Americans need to be educated about what is happening to them.
Listen to what else he said. Germany in the 1920′s was “at the peak of Western civilization.” A decade later, it was at the pits of human history.” Not sure that I follow all that. Germany in 1920′s, if I recall my history, was defeated country, having lost WWI, somewhat decisively; and falling into som ereal,economic turmoil. They were indeed ripe for someone with a restore the power an dglory message. Alas, that person was Hitler.
Don’t want to wander to far out on that limb but it seems Chomsky’s history memory is just a bit off kilter. Not a problem, he did mention Limabugh as on eof those right winger types. Guess w ecan cut him slack on the history.
I just saw a fascinating list at Forbes of who they consider to be the 100 most powerful women in the world. I am a big fan of lists and Forbes regularly has some of the best in a number of areas.There was a lot of interesting information on the list; from who was included, where some familiar names were ranked and the diversity of occupations and countries( 31 different ones) that appeared.
Sad to say, I was unfamiliar with a number of the names so I won’t be able to speak to a number of those that ranked very high. Number one was Chancelor Angela Merkel of Germany, just one of a surprising number- to me- that were heads of state. There were 10 that were either Chancellor, Prime Minister or President.
I obviously cannot speak to whether or not individuals should or should not have made the list. Some were easy choices that even I could have made, many were not. What observations I have would fall into the are of opinion. So, if you like my opinions, great, if not, great. Very few are etched in stone.
The only member of the top 10 that I recognized was Ms Merkel who headed the list for the 4th year in a row. There were 2 members, Michele Obama and Melinda Gates, whom I found interesting. It seems, seems now, that their influence is more of a derived one, considering who their spouses are, than the remainder of the list. Oprah Winfrey was not as highly ranked as I would have thought but was one of the few involved in media.
Three U S Cabinet members appeared, Sebelius, Napolitano and Clinton along with Speaker Pelosi. Good choices, I thought. Both female Supreme Court justices appeared. I thought Justice Sotomayor’ s appearance might be a bit premature though. Two IT companies, sort of, Yahoo with Carol Bartz and Oracle with Safra Catz , were represented.
One thing appeared more interesting than it probably should be . It seemed that the financial services industry was the business type seen most often. Having said that, I was surprised that Sunoco’s CEO was Lynn Eisenhans who made the list at #10.
The list makes for a very good read and one can learn quite a bit, as I did, about the variety of leadership positions held by women. It is a list that undoubtedly will grow.
How does one do justice in a few words to the greatest amphibious landing in history, to 156,000 Allied soldiers who fought there, to the thousands who died or were injured? The answer is quite simple,’it cannot be done. I looked at countless pictures of the invasion from all angles, even one with no living person, just a rifle stuck in the sand with a helmet on top. It was the grave of an unknown American soldier somewhere on Normandy. The raw poignancy of this picture was somewhat overwhelming. I saw Eisenhower talking to paratroopers in England the day before and listened to his speech exhorting all his forces. What a huge task he had with so many variables he could not control. What an amazing and horrific day it became.
But in retrospect, what stayed with me most was a bit of history of which I was unaware. There were practice landings, dress rehearsals , if you will occurring on April 28,1944. German torpedo boats attacked transports and landing craft of Operation Tiger, taking place at Slapton Sands off the coast of Devon, England. Escort warships were assigned and there were warnings about increased German naval activity. But a tragic combination of poor timing, poor communication among other things produced tragic results. Accounts confirm 749 casualties that probably should not have happened. The end result was that the lessons learned that deadly day were crucial in the “success” , a scant five weeks later of the Normandy landings. History rightly calls their sacrifices a “Prelude to Victory”.
The President’s foreign trip rolls on, a day after a significant speech in Cairo. I would venture to say it might be the most significant speech made by an American president in a Muslim country. In some ways, it reminds me of Nixon’s trip to China in 1972. Only Nixon could go to China, only Obama could go to Cairo. But enough of that.
What did the speech seek to accomplish and did it do that? I believe that is a many faceted answer. A speech heavy on references to the Quran versus references to the Bible, a greeting in Arabic , a pointed reference to his Arabic heritage and middle name had to at the least score points in the Arab world. He emphasized that America was not and had never been at war with Islam. Quick aside here, Bush said that same thing on more than one instance but of course it never gained traction.
Let’s see, what else to muse about . Iraq was not a war of choice while Afghanistan was. Wonder how troops in Iraq felt about that one. Israel came in for some criticism but perhaps most telling was that he did not go there. Saudi Arabia to Egypt to Germany. Sorry about that folks, I will talk a lot about what Israel needs to do and the 2 state solution, but just couldn’t find time on the schedule for you. Maybe I can send blue collar Joe or is it $2,400 suit Joe over there soon. One thing I would have liked to hear and I forget who said this. It would have been a good move to emphasize some of the positive things the United States has done in Muslim countries and , don’t laugh, there are a number of those.
So, will any actions follow the speech ( asked by a number of Muslim leaders) and how will it play in Peoria when he returns home? Remember the President himself said those pyramids in Egypt sure are big. So is his task.
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