March 18, 2011.
The revolutions that have swept through Tunisia, Egypt,
and now Libya have brought a large amount of uncertainty. Not only
for the native populations but also for the foreigners and aid
workers living there.
Catholic Relief Services, known as CRS, is the U.S. Church's aid agency that helps build economic development and programs for social good around the world. Regional director, Mark Schnellbaecher, has been watching the developments in North Africa with a mixture of anxiety and hope.
He says he still doesn't know what will be at the end of
these revolutions, requiring CRS to sit down and rethink how to
approach their work in the region.
The organization is used to running into political
barriers. Sudan's government recently accused CRS of distributing
bibles, something they deny and state is against the group's policy.
The accusation, however, was enough to force CRS to temporarily close
their operations in the region of Darfur.
The revolutions in the Middle East present a different
challenge, as new governments begin to develop and attempt to restore
stability. Schnellbaecher will begin the task of working with these
Regardless of politics, their main task has remained
constant, to provide assistance to people of every race, religion,
and nationality without prejudice.
However, the new face of the Middle East may bring some
speed bumps for the organization, Schnellbaecher remains optimistic
about the prospects for democracy in these countries.