Sunday, September 21, 2008

Security Overseas

It's hard for me to gauge what dominates the news cycles back home now, given that I barely have time to stay abreast of the things I really want to read, much less the news sources I normally follow, but I hope, at least, that the carbomb attack on the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen and the carbombing of the Marriott in Islamabad, Pakistan have been covered.  No one I know was injured in either attack, although a lot of people died in both cities, many paying the price solely because they worked for the United States.  It's been a very different ballgame for me in the last week...  even as tuned into current events as I normally am, attacks on Americans or American interests overseas have heretofore just been remote attacks in places where I might work eventually.  Now, there have been attacks directed at my friends and coworkers, threats against others, and severe limitations on my own daily activities due to this pair of bombings.

It gets your attention right quick, I'll tell you.

Right now, I'm on lockdown in the DQ until further notice.  This means that no nonessential travel outside the DQ is allowed, and for the purposes of this warning, things like grocery shopping are considered nonessential.  There is exactly one convenience store on the DQ, across from our embassy, and the owner is probably making more money this week than he has in a year.  Our security measures have been amped up considerably, and I'm sure there's a lot going on that I can't see, as well.  We have had emergency alarm tests, safe haven drills, and doom-and-gloom emails from the security folks with Lots! Of! Extraneous! Punctuation! warning us about the necessity of paying attention and of "varying routes and times," a time-honored FS concept that is difficult to uphold when 2/3 of the embassy staff live within blocks of the embassy.  In short, our already high baseline level of tension has just been turned up to eleven, and we're all a little snappish.  And the best part?  A stomach virus is circulating its way through all of the offices, and we're all operating at about 3/4 strength.  

At the end of the day, though, it's better than the alternative.  As my career progresses, I'm sure I'll be more used to this sort of activity, but my first serious bomb scare is an intense experience, I can assure you.

1 comment:

  1. Jeez, that must be so scary. I'm definitely scared for you. Stay safe, hannah.