AS I watch the developments in Afghanistan I feel a tug in my heart and a recollection of when, after 11 years, my family needed to flee Liberia during the early months of the Liberian Civil War, which began as a "rebel incursion" on Christmas Eve 1989.
The similarities that trigger me is that there are American lives at stake in a situation that is becoming more tenuous and inflamed daily. I recall sitting in Liberia listening to the BBC (British Broadcasting Communications) say initially that the United States was going to put a stop to the "rebels" trained in Libya who invaded Liberia's norther borders. We were happy that the administration of Samuel K. Doe, that had been coping with, might be allowed to mature rather than be toppled. That was the hope and then there was an oil crisis in the Middle East, the very beginning of Desert Storm in August of 1990, which caused a redirection of American's focus to the Persian Gulf.
My heart sank because it meant that the manure was going to hit the fan in Liberia and America, long a factor in the stability (or lack thereof) in Liberia, would be out of the picture.
I'm sure that Americans hunkered down in Afghanistan, who are stuck inside of area patrolled by the Taliban, sheltering temporarily in place are in danger.
When I was finally taken by my granddaughter's father, a Liberian, who know of a home abandoned by an American security contractor with a working telephone, linked to the American Embassy in Monrovia, the embassy counselor was was very clear.
"We are glad you and your family are safe. However, we asked you to return to America during the early evacuation and we will not engage hostile troops to rescue you. If you can get to the Embassy at Mamba Point, we can get you out." The miracle of our escape in August 1990 is chronicled in my memoir, Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot.
It was a conundrum, and one of the most terrifying moments in my life. I had evacuated my eldest daughter, eldest son and my grand daughter but had remained behind with my three younger children, hoping for a solution other than the horrific Civil War that would take place.
When you live in a foreign environment, immersed in a different culture, you develop an understanding and an affinity for the people and the culture. I have Liberian family and persons as close to my heart as family. I had a stake in the country through development work I had been doing with Liberian women and children. When you travel and live in other countries you realize that we are really all one kind of people...human-kind and the political realities are hard to get your head around. The barbarism that people resort to in seeking control of others is soul crushing.
My heart goes out to those Americans in perilous circumstances and the Afghanis seeking a different way of life. Notice I did not say BETTER, because different is not always better, but I believe we all have a right to choose our destiny. If you are interested in getting a copy of my memoir, Sweet Liberia, Lessons From the Coal Pot. Leave me a review on Amazon since this link goes directly to there. If you want a personalized copy, order from my website https://www.susandpeters.com/