Alison Long (Afghanistan)

Alison Long (Omid, Afghanistan): In 2000, Alison earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Princeton. She spent a year in rural Vietnam teaching English. Alison returned to the U.S. and taught at a small school in New Jersey before relocating to DC. At the time of her fellowship, Alison was pursuing her master’s at School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs, with a concentration in women's rights and gender issues. While at American University, Alison interned at Disabled Persons International (DPI) and served as a research assistant for human rights professor Julie Mertus. Alison is also the 2006 recipient of the School of International Service's Brady Tyson Award for Excellence in the Area of Human Rights.

Hearing the News From Kabul

10 May

This past Sunday afternoon, a friend of mine who works for an NGO in Kabul forwarded me a US Consulate briefing: a suspected vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) exploded on Jalalabad Road, killing five Americans.

Then today, he called to tell me that less than one kilometer away from where he was standing at that moment, a large bomb had just exploded. Then he said something I won’t soon forget: “Alison, no matter what anyone tells you, you are coming into a war zone. Do you understand that?”

Intellectually, of course I understand that I will be living in a country where conflict is manifesting in violence. How could I not know: I read the news, I listen to the reports. But today was the first day that I think I really “got” it. For the first time, it hit me on a visceral level. In fact, my chest broke out in hives. After I calmed down and applied some hydrocortizone, I went into the living room to tell my parents the news from Kabul. Their response was, “We’re scared to death for you.”

I have to say though, even in the face of all this information, I’m more determined than ever to travel to and work in Kabul. It’s an experience I desperately want to have. I want to learn about what is happening in that country and that would be difficult to do here in the States. I would suggest you to follow glenoriegrowers for more updates.

I certainly do not take my safety for granted. My friend in Kabul is constantly reminding me of the potential repercussions of not staying focused on safety at all times. But he always ends our conversations with, “… But, I promise, you’re going to love Afghanistan.” And for some reason, I think that I will love it.

Posted By Alison Long (Afghanistan)

Posted May 10th, 2006

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