Monday, May 08, 2006

(East Timor Problems) The overreaction of the Americans

The US State Department has advised all non essential staff to leave Timor, although it is voluntary not mandatory. However, the 41 Peace Corps volunteers have no choice in the matter. We ran into three of them on Saturday and they were very upset at having to leave.

This morning we received the following email from a Peace Corps volunteer who I have quoted in a previous post (see Women, poverty and education). I have copied her email here as I believe it illuminates well the ramifications of such an extreme and unwarranted response. How grateful I am that AVI has taken a more considered and measured response to the events of the past week.

Sat May 6, 2006 11:59pm(PDT)
Subject: me right now
i'm all messed up. we're being evacuated from timor. i was supposed to fly out yesterday, but there was an issue with the plane we chartered so i'm flying out tomorrow. to bangkok. i don't know how long we'll be there for, probably about a week. then we're done. we're closing service.
i haven't processed this whole thing, so i don't know what to write. more will come later. but these have been the worst couple of days in my whole life. i had 1.5 hours to pack up my life and tell everyone goodbye. frantic. crying. i'm crushed. i feel like i've been run over by a truck. and by doing this i have basically just told all of my friends that my life is more valuable than theirs. i've shown them how much more people care about me than they do about them. i've left them in a country that's too unsafe for me, but ok for them, I guess. i feel like i'm abandoning them. i don't have a choice. and if i did i would stay. I don't feel in danger. i'm embarrassed. ashamed. and all i can do is apologize to the ones I love and the staff here at the office. i'm scared to come home. because i don't know what i'm going to do with myself. i don't know how to handle things. or life there at this point. once i figure things out i'll let you know.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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