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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Zen Under Fire: How I Found Peace In The Midst Of War by Marianne Elliot

Marianne Elliott's account of her time as a human rights lawyer in Afghanistan will horrify and move you by turns.  Her intimate and involving story begins with how she was left in charge of the office, and her boss told her that everything would be all right unless an important tribal leader was killed.  She then learns that he's been killed, and she has to cope with the situation and show leadership quickly.

Elliott's work involves attempting to reconcile tribes who are feuding with each other, helping Afghans affected by these feuds and the war, running workshops to teach Afghan lawyers, and many other interesting roles.  She hears dreadful stories, however, and she struggles to cope with the poverty and violence of Afghanistan.  Her tale shows how practising yoga and meditation and learning Buddhist principles helped her to cope with all this in a more peaceful way.

Elliott also tells the story of her emotional romance with a colleague, and how this affected her.  This made the book even more interesting, I thought.  Sometimes accounts of war-ridden countries  tend to be dry, but Elliott's book was the opposite. It was beautifully written, and fascinating. I was sorry to finish it!  I also like Marianne Elliott's blog.

Zen Under Fire also includes websites of organisations in Afghanistan that need help.



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