The ‘conflict’ part of the title is, therefore, obvious; perhaps, the love is less so. Over years of work in conflict-affected areas, first as a humanitarian practitioner and later as a researcher, I have attempted to resist the cynicism that can arise when one exposes herself to atrocities, inequality, or injustice every day. My own most successful moments of resistance–inspired by watching how people whose entire lives have unfolded in violent settings navigate their days–arise when I can notice and hold on to beauty, joy, and–indeed–love. Calling this space “Stories of Conflict” felt incomplete because that would have hidden just how pervasive a theme love is in the conversations I have had with individuals affected by violence.
A strong narrative “I” permeates most of the stories. This site is a personal space, and an attempt to be honest about my own location within this work, and the reflections that this position can prompt. While I do not write directly about research participants or humanitarian work because I neither have their consent to do this nor can I protect their privacy, confidentiality, and safety, I do write about the moments-in-between and the personal dimensions of this line of work. Stories of Conflict and Love does not fit squarely within the categories of an aid blog, a travel blog, or a journal. Ultimately, I write about what moves me in the world: home and away, memory and loss, feminism and power, grief and the narration of suffering. Thank you for stopping by. Please make yourself at home.