Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not knowing

It was cool tonight in Garsilla. The rains have come – settling the dust, bringing temperatures down below 30 C, and inviting the multiplication of a thousand and one flying insects. Four of us sat outside after dinner in the dark listening to the drone of another NGO’s generator and discussing the war. Being out in our field bases it becomes easy to glean a lot of information from locals who know exactly what is going on. This information will only turn up later in security briefings and in the media after the fact. In this case, we were discussing a massive rebel offensive that has the possibility of wreaking havoc in the region. We knew when it was planned to happen, the rebels knew, the government knew, the people knew and yet there was a terrible inevitability about it.

In the end, all we could do was shrug our shoulders and look up in the sky and talk about how you prepare communities for heavy artillery fire or air bombardment. And this is how you prepare them – you don’t. You can’t. People will die – and probably a lot of them.

I think that it is human nature to spend a considerable amount of our lives wishing we knew what was going to happen, making plans for a future that never turns out like we expect it, wishing we knew what tomorrow would hand us. But, I’ve decided, that I’d rather not know. There is some knowledge that no one is the better for knowing.

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