Monday, December 29, 2008

Life - and Work - in Perspective

The Chadian rebel groups, of which there are at least half a dozen, formed largely along ethnic and familial lines, are not known to single out aid organizations for attack, but they are loosely organized, indifferently disciplined, and well armed. Some rebels, and also some Chadian Army recruits, have been known to freelance as hooligans and coupeurs de route—highway bandits—when they are not soldiering. The week before I arrived, in the middle of a sprawling refugee camp three miles from this field office, a U.N.H.C.R. worker named Ali Abderaman watched two young men in white robes walk past the Toyota Land Cruiser in which he and a driver were sitting. It was eleven-thirty in the morning. Abderaman saw the men pause, exchange a few words, and come back. To talk, he thought, but they drew out AK-47s concealed in their robes and pointed the muzzles at his head.

Read the rest of Jonathan Harr's article from The New Yorker on international aid efforts in Chad.

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