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Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Monday, January 10, 2005
The Latest from Baghdad
Dear friends of mine, Alison and Robert (I bought my house from them) , are currently stationed at the American Embassy in Baghdad. Bob is the Sr. Political Liaison for Negroponte, and is one of the top Arabists in the State Dept. Alison is the Sr. Operations Manager and has the thankless task of trying to make sure there are enough people and resources for the Embassy to function. They've been in Baghdad since the Embassy opened last July.

A Baghdad exchange I wanted to share - these two are heroes in my book:

I don't know how Bob stands it. I keep my head happily in the sand and hum my little hum as I stay in my lane... My work is going great as I figure out how to make life and work a little better for my clients each day.

Bob, on the other hand... It was a terrible, terrible day when the Governor of Baghdad Province was killed last week. Bob knew him very well. He says the man was the best and the brightest - a true Iraqi hero. He'd been attacked three or four times before, and left a wife and two young children. One of Bob's colleagues, who was here during CPA, had appointed the gentleman to his post. Andy was so upset he had to leave work for a couple of hours.

It's very hard to watch good people who you've worked alongside die. Two of Bob's other contacts were kidnapped a couple of days ago; no word yet on their fate.

Bob keeps right on going, just like the Energizer Bunny. Given an absolutely impossible task, he works away, maintains perspective (everything from his sense of humor to his fair and honest analyses), and continues to impress. People I barely know have stopped me in the corridors to tell me how much they enjoyed and learned from Bob when he briefed them; marvel at his cool and camaraderie under stress; explain how he was able to give an outstanding press interview in Arabic at two hours' notice; and compliment his leadership.

The job is extremely satisfying. The task is ridiculous. I wouldn't be here if I didn't fundamentally believe in our system at the macro level, but I do, and I am, and it affords me unreasonable joy.

Love, Alison

posted by Broadsheet @ 2:34 PM  
1 Editorial Opinions:
  • At January 11, 2005, Blogger Little House said…

    I shake my head every time I read one of Alison's messages. It's the same shake of the head my mother has when she learns of a difficult situation she knows she can do nothing to fix. This might sound strange because I've never met either Alison or Bob, but I find myself thinking of them when I watch the nightly news or hear a story about activities in the green zone. When you next communicate with them, would you please tell them that they are in the thoughts of a total stranger.

     
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