This time next week I was due to be in Dubai, pootling around that odd city back and forth to the Afghanistan Consulate to get a visa ready to fly there on the 24th (on that well know airline "United Nations Humanitarian Air Services" - anyone know whether they offer free beer or peanuts?)
Sadly however, I will not now be doing that. I was to be in Kabul doing a 5 day workshop in the fancy Serena Hotel, while staying in the same place. If that name rings a kind of recent bell in your mind it is because the Serena Hotel made the news on Monday when it was attacked by the Taliban.
Now when I was first told that the next stage of this project would take me to Kabul, my first reaction was slightly nervous, but after I had assured myself that it was safe and would actually be pretty interesting, I was looking forward to it. I'd read up as much as it was possible to read up (since tourism isn't especially big, and anyway the situation has been fairly, let's call it fluid, ever since the Soviet invasion), and was beginning to really feel enthusiastic. Over the course of various jobs and travels I have been lucky enough to meet a number of Afghans and, without exception, the ones I have met have been wonderful people.
Anyway, the news is obviously much more terrible than the small fact that it has meant my trip has been cancelled. Is there any country that has suffered more in the last 30 years? I suppose most places that have been at the centre of what is euphemistically called "Global politicking" (which as we all know actually means "Creation of human suffering"). Palestine I guess would be up there.
Still, I won't be in Kabul next week, thanks to those lovely people in the Taliban, and I have no idea where I will be. Almost certainly Csikszereda at a guess, but there are other faint possibilities of a plan B for the Kabul workshop. We'll see.
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