Friday, August 22, 2008

Reflections from 36,000ft

En route Tbilisi – London

You never leave a war zone, in my work I depart one conflict and prepare for another.

In fact between live shots the other day, I went down to the hotel gym to find Correspondent Steve Harrigan working out as well.

“Here we find ourselves in a war zone, training for the next one”

The next one being Afghanistan, in a few weeks time where I have a three to four week assignment coming up, to coincide with the US Elections.

The last two weeks in Georgia have been physically draining, long hours , little sleep and the constant threat of danger. It is the danger you do not see that worried me the most. Isolated roads and ethnic tensions, add to that alcohol and guns and a lethal cocktail is created.

Who started the war in Georgia will be debated, Why Russia invaded can be argued from many viewpoints. I have no doubts that they had been planning this invasion for a long time.

I have learnt that you should never take sides and you cannot hate one side or the other. The secret is to simply despise both sides equally and be nice to the man with the gun or tank you are standing next to at the time. It is somewhat hard to explain what it feels like to drive across frontlines, one minute you are with one army the next with the other side with guns and artillery pointed at where you have just been and where you will be going too.

War is often not a constant Rambo’esque blaze of gunfire from the hip, but a slow calculated chess game, where moves are often made when the pieces are in place. And then the secret is not to be in the no man’s land

The one thing I dread about going home is the fact that I know that in the next few days, I will go thru, what I call the “wakes in the night”. Where I will suddenly wake up and not know where I am in the dark, and it will take a few seconds to register where I am and the fact that I am not in a conflict zone. That is never pleasant and will take a week to get over.

The Afghanistan trip next month will be hard, and already not two hours out of Georgian War. My planning has begun already.

Finally after two weeks my beard is at the stage that the itching is beginning to drive me crazy, what is worse though is the amount of less than dark hairs that seem to populate my natural color.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mate....One job down and tomorrow is another day. You may not believe this by I too wake up at night wondering where I am... and I was born here....Fortunately you, Mr. James, get over it in a week. Been an adventure with you and Harrigan and one thing we have learned...There is no place like home, and it is one screwed up world out there...wait....that's two things. After all is said and done all we can do is say thank you for doing what you do and doing it so well. Take care until the next time and enjoy that first beet in a London pup.
Arizona...USA for now

Anonymous said...

Mr. James...Correction...Make that enjoy that first beer in a London pub.....not enjoy that first beet in a London pup....that makes no sense at all....does it.
A&N...wherever we are