By Carol Bergman
One other Day in Paradise is an anthology of first-person tales by way of foreign reduction staff. Written through lively relief employees and spanning the recent spots of the globe from Afghanistan to Cambodia, Rwanda to Vietnam and Ecuador to Bosnia, those tales inform it love it fairly is at the flooring. protecting average catastrophe, struggle and all-too-fragile peace, those tales open an uncensored window onto the lives of reduction employees and the triumphs and tragedies of the folk they try to assist
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History is a poor teacher, and it is also—paradoxically— the best of teachers. ” King Leopold II claimed humanitarian action as his motivation—saving the “natives” from the Afro-Arab slave trade, converting the barbarians to Christianity. This was a cynical deception; what a shock to see the word humanitarian in his writings. The Belgian genocide in the Congo stirred the first human rights campaign in modern history, most of which was heartfelt, some of which was hypocritically righteous; the crimes against humanity of the other colonial powers were also egregious, though often unreported.
We danced in easy groups, reveling together in the musical strains. I was at such a bar one evening when a combatant approached me and ordered me to go outside with him. He hovered over me, his pistol at his side, reeking of alcohol. François-Xavier, an Action Internationale Contre la Faim (AICF) representative I’d seen at several meetings, urged me not to make eye contact. “Ne le regardes pas,” he said. Drinking his beer and sitting calmly next to me, he repeated it quietly until the soldier turned and left.
Perhaps it was because we felt safe in the comfort of Louisiana, far from the land these ghosts frequented. Now they are here, all around me. Tomorrow is October 31, my brother’s birthday and also Halloween—an amazing coincidence on all counts. I fight • 47 • ADIP int. mech. pgs 1-80 UK 9/5/03 10:29 AM Page 48 A N O T H E R D AY I N PA R A D I S E back the thought of more ghosts. Candy. That’s it! Halloween and candy go together. Then I think of Grandmother’s candy factory in Long An and all the peanut brittle my teeth can handle for one afternoon.
Another day in paradise : front line stories from international aid workers by Carol Bergman