Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pained ramblings

First of all, Owwwwwwwwwwwwww. The infection has apparently spread from my eye down my face, so the whole right side of my face is swollen and everything, breathing, walking, blinking, thinking too hard, is like getting punched in the face.

Since discussing this is both self-pitying and boring, I'll direct you all to an article in the New York Times on expats in Liberia. I'm a bit conflicted with this thing. Basically, it is some reporter who no doubt has a lovely little loft in Brooklyn coming out to Monrovia and seeing all the sushi joints, all the swimming pools, all the casinos and then saying that aid workers are wasting the resources meant for poverty stricken Liberians on frivolous resources.

Now, when I was living in Liberia, I was the first to say that the Sushi joints and the pools and the parties were a bit excessive, bacchanalian even, at times. However, you know what, they were certainly no more excessive than what is going on every weekend in every city in Europe and the States and considerably less decadent than life in, say, New York or London. Considerably, considerably less.

Now, this reporter was all worked up, I imagine, because he wants to believe that every aid worker is a saint who never does anything but ponder the inequalities of the developing world and hand out scoops of bulgar wheat. Instead, he shows up and discovers a life just as messy and frivolous and meaningless as anything in the real world. Only set against a backdrop that people in the real world can pretend doesn't exist and we are forced to acknowledge every time we want to go out and buy some cigarettes.

I mean, he makes it out like the money which we were using to go to the casinos would otherwise be used to feed a small child, only we heartlessly diverted it in to bottles of wine and surfboards.

We are doing what every other young, silly, single person who can afford to does. We are spending way too much money on booze and way too much time on attracting the opposite sex. We just wear more khaki than the rest of them and trousers with more pockets.

So could everyone PLEASE stop being bloody well shocked that humanitarians are just as beset by human frailty as everyone else.

And could someone send me some very very strong drugs before I cut my own head off?

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