Courageous Aid Workers

Following the kidnappings of 3 foreign aid workers from the Sahrawi refugee camps last year, a political tension has built up around the issues in neighbouring Mali.The kidnappers drove up from Mali across the desert to Rabouni and at gunpoint dragged away 2 Spanish and 1 Italian aid worker.Since this event in late 2011, the numbers of foreign aid workers dropped by 70% leaving the refugees even more vulnerable than they already were.In spite of the successful release of these hostages a month or so back, over recent weeks, Spain has taken the political decision to remove its last aid workers, based on security intelligence they were getting about movements and further threats from Mali.However, what Governments may fail to appreciate is the bond between aid worker and refugee families. The aid workers don't go there with any illusions of being 'charitable' they go there because as ordinary, caring human beings, they care for their Sahrawi friends, they care about the injustice that politics has served upon them, they care about the vulnerability the refugees are faced with 24/7 x 365.So, these aid workers have taken matters into their own hands and under their own steam, travelled back to the camps to a rousing reception of solidarity at the camps.Some times people are moved beyond self interest, they are compelled to take action and risk their lives in dangerous places, they take this risk with open arms and do so selflessly in the knowledge that they are doing 'the right thing' however wrong that may appear to their peers.Giving in to terrorist threats is like giving terror permission to spread like a virus around the world. Standing up to it, facing it full on and with compassion for why we do so sends out another message entirely. It says loudly, we are standing with the people and when any of us take a stand like this, you access your real humanity and it cares not for creature comforts, it only cares for the preservation of all life.

MartinPhotos by: Carlos Cristobal