Friday, September 23, 2011

Pawns and Not -So-Pawns

As a long-time hiker, I am pleased to see that Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal,the American hikers held prisoner by Iran are now free. Two years in any prison is a difficult ordeal, especially when all you wanted to do was get out and see the countryside. Now free, Bauer, Fattal and Sarah Shourd can get on with their lives as best they can. No doubt Iran will always be part of those lives.

So that's over. Meanwhile, another group of Americans are in southwest Asia--Afghanistan, to be exact. These Americans, Doug and Jody Mackey of Olympia and Larry Kershner from nearby Centralia, are in Afghanistan teaching low-technology water purification and sanitation. Their mission is one of both sharing knowledge and understanding--two-way direct communication between cultures that are now linked by events.

Unlike the American hikers whom I don't believe were ever at risk of death, Jody, Doug and Larry are in an active war zone. They are the same nationality of the foreign occupiers. And they bring ideas and knowledge that some in Afghanistan fear. Knowing the risks, that Larry, Jody and Doug chose to go there shows their essential humanity and courage. Not a surprise to those of us who know them.

Like the American hikers, I wish these three a safe return to family and friends.

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