Zen Under Fire: How I Found Peace in the Midst of War

Marianne Elliott. Sourcebooks, $14.99 paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8111-2
Veteran human rights lawyer Elliott relates her two years in Afghanistan working for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and monitoring human rights cases for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Beginning with the assassination of a powerful tribal leader on her first day, Elliott endures much in the war-torn country, from personal upheavals and triumphs to professional disappointments and achievements. Precisely recording her emotional states, she explains how yoga, meditation, and journaling eased her trenchant perfectionism and provided an outlet for her anger, guilt, and sadness. After directing successful workshops focused on ending violence against women, Elliott builds confidence in her new surroundings and begins to find humor in the absurd—while discussing religion with an Afghan driver she notices a similarity to debates about football teams. She also highlights the behavior of her Afghan colleagues and officials: their kindness, courtesy, generosity, and genuine desire for justice prevail against great odds. She points to disillusioned foreign aid workers, overlapping humanitarian and military efforts, and protocol-heavy U.N. initiatives as barriers to real change in the country. At times there is an imbalance between Elliott’s professional role and her personal journey. Yet overall, her eyewitness report presents a solid view of Afghanistan’s potential. Agent: Laura Nolan, The Creative Culture (June)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 351 pages - 978-1-4022-8113-6
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4022-8112-9
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