Posts Tagged ‘US Ambassador Libya’

The news this week of the attacks on the US Embassies, and the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya and some of his staff, was shocking to me. It has been about 18 years since I left our own diplomatic service, after only one posting in Bangkok. Even with such very brief experience as part of the global diplomatic family, I felt this deeply. When you’re away overseas, representing your country, you feel an affinity with those other diplomats. Because they too are overseas representing their countries, living in a strange land, learning (often) a strange new language and culture, missing their families and friends at home, setting up home wherever their government decides to send them.  So often the similarities between us all – whether we are from New Zealand, the US or China – outweigh the differences. We become friends and colleagues. And things that affect our friends and colleagues affect us too.

I was on the phone this afternoon to another friend who has only recently left the diplomatic service, and we chatted about this.  She has had a more than 20 year career serving in three different countries.  She has a friend and colleague in the US Embassy here who she met somewhere offshore years ago. This often happens. Friendships develop, rekindle, and deepen over the years as diplomats crisscross the planet.  And in the process, we become a family. A huge, disparate, diverse family. And almost 20 years later, I still feel part of that family. And I feel for those diplomats who were threatened, injured, and killed overseas.  I feel for the diplomats all over the world who will now be on heightened alert.  I remember walking past the gun-bearing guards and the small cannons outside the US Embassy in Bangkok during the first Gulf War.  I remember their vulnerability.  I remember my grief at the death of the head of the Red Cross, and international diplomat who I had met ten years earlier in Cambodia.  And I grieve for them all.

It reminds me of the AFS motto, taken from Sanskrit:

Walk together, talk together,
All ye people of the earth,
Then and only then
Shall ye have Peace.

If only …


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