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The Middle East

Several of my flist have noted they simply don’t want to discuss this topic because they are upset – so I’ll put my post behind a cut.

My friend (and co-worker) is trapped in Lebanon right now.  She went there shortly before the current hoo-ra-ra started, in order to help establish a primary care clinic in her hometown. She gave up her entire years’ worth of vacation time and traded off lots of favors with the rest of us to clear her schedule enough to participate in this generous, humanitarian effort.  Now flying home is not really an option, and as she’s not a US citizen the US embassy won’t help her.  She’s been working on her immigration stuff for the last year, but it’s a convoluted, miserable process and isn’t finished yet.  She’s done OK so far – she’s in a “safe” area and has access to full amenities including internet. But, she’s stuck.

Also, an “unofficial family member” has had his life put on hold because of the conflict.  He’s a physician, was just finishing up a research fellowship at Vanderbilt, and was preparing to return to Isreal to start up a teaching position there.  He’s German, originally, but his wife is Israeli and they both consider Isreal to be their home. Like my Lebanese friend, his decision to practice in Isreal is spawned from a desire to improve conditions in a place he loves.

Because the conflict is directly affecting people I know, I’m intensely aware of the stupidity of it all.  I feel confident that if my two friends lived near one another, they’d be the best of friends.  Neither wants the conflict, neither has a political agenda for the other’s home… 

It’s all insane.

The fact that I’m working extra shifts in clinic to cover for my friend’s absence is a minor irritant in the whole thing, but definitely doesn’t put me in a better mood.


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