"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Zanzibar Chest Chronicles Continue
-“Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi: Out of Africa always comes something new” –Pliny the Elder
A great quote which summarizes why I am so excited to be an Africa FAO. More than any other AOR, the untapped resources (and by this I mean namely the people) are limitless. If the infrastructure is able to be developed cohesively and responsibly, their power on the ‘world stage’ very well might eclipse that of nearby Middle East and East Asian powers later in the 21st century.
Not get off on too big of a tangent but I strongly believe that the FAO community (especially the young Navy FAO community) must write, must publish, must SHARE. And I don’t mean only about their experiences overseas (but definitely those) but also their experiences in learning (from an academic and intellectual point of view) about their AOR.
Writing about the experiences overseas though would be hugely useful. For instance, it’s hard to find good information about the nuts and bolts of moving overseas. How did shipping your car work? How about finding a place to live? What’s your place look like? How was the hiring process for maids, nannies, guards and guardeners? How about grocery shopping? Ideally, there would be a huge repository of information for the different countries where FAOs have been stationed.
If I was headed to Ghana for instance, I could tap into the files and papers for the past FAOs (and their spouses!) that have been stationed there. How much richer could your awareness be if you had that exposure prior to arriving in country. It would be great to click on Ghana and see an evolving list (with email/phone numbers) of past personnel assigned to that country (or at least those that consented for their information to be made available) that went back 40 or 50 years. This would be especially useful in Africa where the majority of information is unclassified.