1. We like being here (enough, anyway).
2. The work I am starting with Hagar is really needed.
3. Julie likes her work.
4. The kids are happy.
5. We are at significant risk of serious harm.
It is quite difficult to reconcile these things. If any one of these five statements were not the case, it would simplify matters. As it is, discussing staying here leads us to conversations eerily like those we had in mid 2001, when the Taliban restrictions on living were becoming unbearable. How many limitations of our lifestyles can handle in order to stay here (in order to stay safe)? There is a point where the security restrictions become too costly. But as we are just at the beginning of a period of enforced, tighter security, it is hard to assess whether it will prove too much. What do we lose when we no longer walk places? What happens to us when we have to start scanning the streets for weapons? Are we beginning on the insidious descent of viewing Afghans as all potential threats?
Proximity, frequency, severity. These three elements are how I assess security changes and threats. Proximinty we have been able to control to some degree, by not going to those areas where the attacks were most frequent and most severe. But now the attacks have come to us. Severity we have little control over. Frequency we also cannot control. And it remains to be seen how frequent these severe, close attacks are. Is one attack a year too many? One attack a month? What about such an attack every six months?
How do you make such decisions? We have friends who are probably like us in their processing: they try to assess trends, measure their own feelings against those trends, and decide to stay or leave. They have decided to go.
Other friends have said they will stay until, ‘God tells them to go’. That is not really our model; I have not understood God to be personally monitoring my security, or that I am to delegate it to the Supreme Creator and Author of Love and Life, Yet We Address him as God (SCALLYWAG). However, their model gives them a quiet confidence, and their way of looking at things -and who am I to say it is not valid?
Thank you to everyone who has phoned, emailed and made comments in the last days. We appreciate the concern. And we thank you for reassuring us that to return to Australia is no failure.
Why can’t we just stay here and finish what we started for once?