Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Martial Arts of Mayhem

It was a day for fights. All blows pummeled through smiles, laughs, smirks and some judo too. Well a lot of judo—others may call it diplomacy.

My day started with some sparring with our security chief. For others, including him, the day started with the bombing today. It killed a dozen or so and injured even more. My day, though, should have started with the meeting I needed to go to, it’s location not far from where the bomb went off.

I did go to the meeting, after some posturing, positioning, and a little bit of tussling. (Though, not much, as I deeply respect and trust our security folks, and consider them personal friends beyond colleagues...moreover, at the end of the day, and after all the sparring, my life is often in their hands. I trust their better (than mine, surely) judgment. However surly they or I may be in conversation; a rare occurrence, truth be told.)

The condition for me being allowed to go was the alternate route mapped by my driver and security chief. We were to take a chase car, i.e. the “making ourselves the obvious target” phenomenon and duly avoid any congestion, i.e. the “avoid being the sitting target” phenomenon. See, everything is a matter of judo here.

On the way to the meeting, there was a crowd outside the Red Cross/Crescent (I believe, but it may be UN) mine victims hospital. There was a lot of jostling to get in the entry gate, and a lot of jostling to get around the entry gate. Eventually we did get around. At the moment I didn’t want to think much about the people trying to get in the hospital. I still don’t.

Then there was the sparring at the meeting. It was a bid opening for a large contract. I, as a neutral observer, had to sit at the same table as the bid evaluation committee. I’m glad I put on the blazer (though no tie) as there was a Minister, and a few Deputy Ministers up there. I still think I should have gone with the black mock turtle neck and black jeans this morning. The only problem there being that I not having those items in my wardrobe since 1989.

So the vendors/bidders sat there in front of the panel as we opened the bids. It was nearly mayhem, and there was some jostling, and a good amount of contention. But it went, not to well, but it went. At the end of the event, the smiles, laughs and smirks became a bit more sincere, or in the least a little less restrained.

Finally, the bid opening was followed with a debrief/meeting with a Minister and a Dep. Minister. Since we were all aiming for the same ends, the posturing and positioning was actually fruitful. But the martial arts were deployed nonetheless. It seems, today, that nothing was not a matter of diplomacy.

As limited and difficult as it may be these days, there are still systems in place here. As frustrating as this day was, especially as it was one milestone on what I’ve been working on since spring, I ended the day more hopeful than when I started.

On the way home much of the morning mayhem had subsided. The city was in it’s usual Ramadan calm. Hopefully the optimism and relief I felt at the end of the day are not simply because there were no more bombs that went off today.


Elizabeth said...

You've been posting so much about music I haven't had much to say. Ramazan muborak and congrats on accomplishing your mission despite the bomb.

Anonymous said...

may i add that i'm happy that you're posting? i also didn't have much to say on the music b/c you know that i haven't progressed past britney spears.

Q. A. Shah said...

Khair Mubarak. So music posts don't count? You all are supposed to comment on my hipper than thou music tastes. Ridiculing my pretentious hipster-ism counts too.

HIK-Britney Spears...well her first album I'll let you be a fan of. But you should really be listening to the new Timberlake. It is phenomenal.

And E-I don't feel congratulations are due. The job was done, but all the stuff could have and should have been done so much better. But thank you. I'm glad that part has been done. Now the clean up and aftermath, I mean fun part starts.

And don't worry, I'm working up to another music post soon.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, hoorah, another music post. They count, I'm just a total music dork and cannot comment. Making fun of pretentious music hipsterism gets old.

Q. A. Shah said...

After the Slate photo post, the next post WILL be a music related post. And self-deprication on music hipsterism, hopefully, never gets old.