October 1, 2001 - Wall Street Journal: Peace Corps Volunteers Lament Hasty Evacuation of Countries

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By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:34 pm: Edit Post

From the Wall Street Journal on October 1:

October 1 - Wall Street Journal: Peace Corps Volunteers Lament Hasty Evacuation of Countries

"Part of it is a pride thing," says James Barta, a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer who was evacuated from Turkmenistan, where he taught business development in Ashkhabad, the capital. "You don't want to quit. The ethic is: I signed up to do this, and there's nothing that's going to stop me -- it's very powerful."

But perhaps more than anything, the volunteers' parents drove much of the decision-making. In the days after the attack, hundreds of them called every day, Ms. Paquette says. Dozens across the U.S. called their congressmen and senators and asked them to pressure the Peace Corps to evacuate. Others started an online petition.

By Gary Geoghegan Niger 81-83 on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 1:55 pm: Edit Post

I hope this is not the true reason. While PCV's may be a little too willing to take any chances, their parents cannot be trusted to avoid TV induced panic.

I certainly hope that Country Directors had the dominant voice.

By Laurence Budd Phils 79-80 on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 6:48 pm: Edit Post

I agree that country directors will know best how safe the area is. However, as an RPCV in the South Philippines, I remember what sitting ducks volunteers were for extremists. We should not let our feelings of "macho volunteers" place onsite volunteers in danger.

By Faye Farmer on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post

As all Peace Corps Volunteers must know, most of the countries we serve in are considered very remote once you leave the capital city. Sometimes remote begins at 20 Km out and other times, it's 300 Km outside the city.

Being one of the volunteers evacuated from Lesotho in Sept. '98, I was one who was 300 Km outside the capital. I was remote. The decision to evacuate Lesotho, unremarkable here in the US, save for 30 seconds on CNN, was made by country staff, Washington, and affiliated, capital city dwellers. I highly doubt if parents called, mainly because even volunteers did not know what was going on.

I seriously believe that the in country staff and State Department had our best interests and welfare in mind when they evacuated, and not the politcal maneuvering that is in place in other PC posts right now. Even though I was 300 Km from the "intervention" I think the evacuation was a necessary step in our safety. It was the most difficult action I took during my service, a close second was returning to Lesotho afterwards to finish my service.

I feel for those who have been affected by the Sept. 11th events, here and abroad, but the administration in country and out of it, while not always on the level, does care about our personal safety first and foremost. The motivations I will not comment on, but I hope that they are pure. As Peace Corps volunteers we must balance our goals of service with our safety at all times. It is a personal decision and one I am happy to say that I had help with while serving. (Lesotho '97-'99)

By myq larson, Bangladesh Feb-Sept 2001 on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 3:31 am: Edit Post

I can verify that, as a member of the PC Bangladesh group that was evacuated, parent's calls to Washington did have a BIG influence on the decision. This is from the CD's mouth to me during our transition meetings.

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