Monday, September 8, 2008

R.I.P. Nicole

8:38 PM Posted by: M., 0 comments

I found out today that a girl I used to work with has died. Not just died, she was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. We worked together at an NGO in Washington, DC - I was a timid intern with an overbearing boss, and she was a kind-hearted full-timer who always shot me a smile, sat next to me in meetings, just was a friendly voice and face every day when I was at the office. I looked up to her. I was a mere intern and she was an adult doing the work that I knew I was destined to do, still am destined to do. But she was killed, brutally, callously a few weeks ago.

Until now, I had never known anyone killed by rebels. I've met Rwanda survivors, former torture survivors, child soldiers, etc. But known none on a more personal basis until now, and none who were extinguished in the very profession that I seek.

Nicole Dial was working for the International Rescue Committee when her clearly marked IRC vehicle was brutally fired upon. She, and three of her colleagues were killed. They were in the country to serve the victims, to serve peace and they were picked off like nothing.

I imagine her smile, her upbeat personality. She was excited to be working this new job in a new place, she was curious about the people she would meet, work with, encounter. And then all of the sudden that was shattered. Blood, death, dead. Her monumental aspirations for peace and unending devotion to human reconciliation and goodness are now buried with her.

I find myself more afraid to work abroad. I find myself trying to make excuses to stay in America and work in the relative safety of california. I am torn between wanting to risk everything for peace and justice, and wanting to preserve my small shell of a self, have children, live safely and die an old woman playing bocce in the park.

Right now I am mourning and afraid and confused and ashamed. I want to work for peace, but I do fear an early death. I am inspired by Nicole. She braved such a dangerous job with a smile on her face. I am sure there were moments of fear, but she worked in the midst of it. And I must do that too.

You can read about those who died in this terrible ambush, and even donate in their remembrance if you feel so inclined.

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