9 comments on “The Ambush (Part 3 of 3): Evac

  1. Phenomenal stuff. I’m reluctant to congratulate you on such first rate, absorbing writing as I know it wasn’t your main objective but still, for what it’s worth, well done.

    I would like to think that with adrenalin responding to a do-or-die situation, coupled with intelligence and excellent training, many of us would react accordingly. Although of-course I have of knowing for certain. The exceptional thing here is the commitment that you and other humanitarian workers make in the face of such threats. The effects of War trauma are a real and palpable things (I still shudder at the thought of some gruesome war photos I stumbled upon on the internet a few years back!) and would be sufficient for many people to pursue a different line of work.

    When the shit really hits the fan, as it clearly did in this event, then I can only presume that a deep sense of faith, or for the atheist, a profound belief in the necessity of helping others, would be required in order to head back out into the field after such an event.

    My heart stopped during the “details” section when you described being told about the click of the gun. To know that you came that close to death, once when the gunman was letting off his ammunition and the second time he tried to shoot you face to face, and yet you all survived! As you captured so eloquently throughout the story, starting with the delays to your car trip, the minute actions and seconds of our lives account of so much more than we realise. It´s only when you reflect on an experience such as the one you had in Sudan that we really come face to face with how significant chance and coincidence are in our individual lives, our collective histories and indeed the universe as a whole. Be it due to providence or just plain chance, it must be remarkable to have understood so acutely the tiny but profound forces of causality those constitute our lives. Likewise it must have been humbling to have encountered such depths of courage in both yourself and the other people involved.

    I look forward to reading more.

    Clive Liebmann

    • Clive,

      Thanks so much for your kind & thoughtful words, and for taking the time both to read what is a lengthy account (!) and responding to what you read.

      It has been, as you say, a very humbling experience to see how the little details came together to spare us all from what was very nearly death for all of us, as well as an interesting journey simply going through the process of re-collating and sharing the memories of it all. Ultimately, in the oddest way, it was a real privilege to be part of such an experience- all the more so because we all came through alive at the end of it. If it wasn’t for Abdul’s disability I could even have said that the experience was an oddly positive one, although his legacy leaves a note of real sadness about the whole affair.

      At any rate, I’m glad you enjoyed and were drawn in to the writing. It was very much my intention to provide a piece of prose that would allow people to be drawn into the experience we went through and share in it a little bit, and if the writing accomplished that, then I’m satisfied.

      Thanks again for dropping by and commenting mate. See you around.

  2. Pingback: I didn’t really want to quit anyway « Wait… What?

  3. I’ve just read these three pieces, one after the other, and I’m lost for words. The courage it must have taken to sit down and write about such a shocking event must have taken a while to pull together. The way the piece is written is beautiful and utterly absorbing – although I’m reluctant to use such words for a piece that would have taken every inch of your being to write.

    • Thanks for your kind words Bec. Actually, the writing process was a very positive one. I’ve sat down a number of times in the last 2-3 years to write it all out, and not gotten very far in the process. It’s good to have a written record, and I ‘enjoyed’ (poor word) the process as much as one could given the subject matter. I wanted it to be a piece of writing that would draw people in so I’m glad you found it absorbing, that was very much the desire, to give people the chance to experience a little bit of what it was like to be there.

      Thanks for taking the time to read through! 🙂

  4. Ah, this is the first time I’ve had the whole story and I’m so overwhelmingly glad that you are still with us, and that your friends survived. I hope telling the story in writing was cathartic for you in some way. It’s also an excellent piece of writing. 🙂 When we next catch up, I’m standing you a drink in honour of both your survival and your writing skills.

    • Thanks Narrelle. I’ll certainly let you shout me that beer. 🙂 Much appreciate your praise in the writing particularly- obviously coming from you that means a lot! And appreciate your concern. Yes, interestingly, it was very cathartic- the writing process really helped me download a lot of the stuff that I was keeping in my brain, and I find the experience revisits me less since I published this.
      Good seeing you the other day. Won’t leave it so long next time.

  5. As someone who is considering humanitarian field work, your story is both amazing and surreal. Your detailed account of what happened made me feel like I was there. I, like other readers, am lost for words. I can see why it took you so long to actually sit down and write a full version of what happened. It sure is a reality check for people who never fully appreciate or realize the conditions in which humanitarian workers live and work. Thanks for sharing!

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