After almost two years I think I owe my supporters a long-overdue update.
Shortly after my last post in December 2010 I took a job at a British charity as the programme officer for Afghanistan and Pakistan. I worked my little heart out on our partnerships and strategy in both countries, all the while the 'nine-to-five' and commuter life in London took over completely until this past July when I moved within the organisation to the Middle East team. Part of my heart remains with Afghanistan and all the friends/allegiances/colleagues there. I am making contact with trusted colleagues who will help me to spend down the funds I am still holding onto since the dollar-a-day fundraising drive in 2009.
Yes, I still plan to spend your money in rural northern Afghanistan--and spend it well. The security situation there has worsened considerbly with the Taliban expanding into Faryab province and beyond, meaning access to some of the more remote villages is difficult even for Afghans who are from those areas. Nonetheless, I am working on this and will continue to report back to you--it is your money that you entrusted me with, afterall.
My work with Palestinians in the Middle East is an indulgence for me--I am privileged to have this job and be able to work with our partners on programming and advocacy that will try to soften the blows being struck by the Israeli government and military onto the Palestinian populations in the West Bank (Area C and East Jerusalem) and Gaza. I have been wanting to do more alongside Palestinians (and left-leaning Israelis) for years, and now I have a paid full-time job doing just that. I want to use this blog to capture my experiences, reflections, frustrations, celebrations and revelations during this journey. I'd be honoured if you follow me and also share views, ideas and/or advice. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is highly emotive and highly political--I know that no matter what I say I will anger and receive criticism. This is good--we need to talk about the conflict and encourage a better understanding of what both sides are experiencing.
From the outset I can say that I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a massive imbalance of power and resources weighted toward the Israeli government and military that puts the Palestinian government(s) and population at a severe disadvantage in terms of their struggles to be treated equally and share the life opportunities to which they are entitled and to which Israeli citizens are also entitled.
I will keep my employer and partners anonymous, though I know many of you know who I work for. I ask that you respect my intentions and keep this information to yourselves.
Let's see where this blog goes, shall we?