Monday, October 22, 2007


Fewer than three days until i find out The Big News. i am a bundle of nerves! Luckily, i will be very busy until then in a conscious effort to keep my mind occupied.

Continuing last post's theme, today i got a handout that listed every official embassy and consulate evacuation going back to 1988. It was pretty interesting to see what prompted past evacuations and to trace trendlines across twenty years (sorry for the alliteration). Of the countries of interest to me, Pakistan and Yemen top the list, with some posts there being evacuated 6 times since 1988. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Pakistani posts come in at 5 times.

Some of the more mundane reasons across the board are basic things like hurricanes, flooding, SARS, and volcanoes. (As an aside, you know something's wrong when those are considered mundane reasons to uproot on short notice!) Of course, there are also coups, civil unrest, civil wars, border wars, army mutinies, missile attacks, embassy bombings, and terrorism on the human-caused side of evacuations. Then there are some that just make you scratch your head, such as Y2K (four countries), environment with no other specifications, and the nebulous category Kosovo. Now, i can understand being concerned about safety in the Balkans, but we don't see an evacuation from Baku listed under Karabagh, or Tbilisi as Abkhazia.

i'm not trying to be flip about a very serious subject, or to engage too severely in gallows humor. i really do find it interesting to see how the data play out in what leads to a total evacuation or a mere drawdown of personnel. It's also interesting to see what posts get evacuated for events like the invasion of Iraq and who successfully lobbied to stay at post. i've been thinking about all of this in the context of what is likely to affect me at some point in my career. i will have the opportunity to get involved with the emergency planning group at post, which i find very exciting - i really do work best under a lot of stress, and while i don't wish a bombing or an earthquake on anyone, i want to try my hand at some simulated crises to see how i can handle it. What can i say - my interests draw me to places that aren't high on the lists of stable, secure, and incorruptible nations. Time to come to terms with the fact that i'm likely going to deal with such a drawdown or evacuation in my career.

Stay tuned for further information on Flag Day. i'll release the morning line odds on my posts Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Is today, Wed, the day? We'll be eager to hear. It would be great to have you posted where your abilities can flourish -- but those are also the places where you have to keep your head down all the time [!]. Best, B.