I have been reflecting on life and other things the last couple of days. I was scheduled for a meeting with the Pakistan government last weekend in Islamabad and yes, I was registered to stay at the Marriott. Last week, I received a message postponing the meeting until November. If it wasn’t for that twist of fate, I might have been one of those killed or injured. It makes me think of how truly fragile life can be.
I am truly sorry for those who lost family or friends in the blast, while at the same time being thankful that I was not there. Will I go in November? Well that remains to be seen. My boss has left it at my discretion. Needless to say, I am taking measures for my own security, if I go, and have added numerous conditions of my appearance there in Islamabad. If the political situation worsens, I will not go. I have a new wife to think of. There are very severe business consequences to not going. I’m trying to move the meeting to Paris or Dubai, but it simply may not be possible… The presentation is in front of 40 people and getting everyone together will be very difficult.
Most places I visit on business are safe for travel… I’m usually in no more danger than a bad case of Delhi Belly… But there are exceptions, and, yes, I have stayed in hotels where there were previous bombings (Aden, Jakarta, Mumbai, Delhi, and Doha). All of them, except the one in Aden, added significant security after the incidents. In Aden, a bombing did not occur, but rather summary executions by rival militias during the civl war.In other words, I do not let the possibility of danger influence my behavior… If I cancel a trip, the radicals get what they want, which is fear and disruption. However, I am not reckless. It is a question of real risk versus the perception of risk. Can they be separated? I’m not entirely certain.
This piece could easily degenerate into a discussion of politics as to the why things happen or the “well you shouldn’t be going there”. As to politics, yes, I believe the US has mucked things up. Yes, I believe their actions have created more problems than have been solved. I also don’t believe that the upcoming election will change anything… There are limited options and courses of action, and someone will be angry no matter what is done.
As to the “you shouldn’t be there anyway” argument, remember that the world is largely a single economy and entity these days…Isolationism has not worked for over a century. Risk is present all over the world. The bombings in London, Spain, and New York all proved that nowhere is completely “safe” anymore.
So, I close this article with the question: “What would you do in my position?”