#22 Having a Private Security Detail
Submitted by a reader named Alisha.
Being required to travel in-country with a private security detail is something Expat Aid Workers like. However they will rarely, if ever, actually admit that they like having a private security detail (a “PSD”).
Expat Aid Workers are among the first to make public declarations such as, “Entering countries with weapons only promotes a culture of violence” or “Communities deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and not like violent criminals”.
Expat Aid Workers will attest to an overwhelming amount of trust in local people when working in the most insecure and violent environments like Iraq, Afghanistan or Sudan. In spite of this, having a private security detail reminds EAWs in these countries that they are “hardcore”, have field cred, and are a cut above their old university friends who are working in nice, safe places like Guatemala or Tajikistan.
Expat Aid Workers’ favorite way to brag to their friends and fellow aid workers about having a private security detail is, of course, to complain about them. Facebook postings to this effect are a great way to let others know that you are so hardcore that you require private security: “Going to a small community to look at buffalo cheese production – why does this need protection with guns?!” The PSD-disdain method allows Expat Aid Workers to enlighten friends to their level of importance while maintaining their humanitarian prestige.
EAWs also like the accoutrements required for traveling with a private security detail: armored vehicles, body armor, and sometimes helicopters. Complaining about these via Facebook or Twitter is also a frequent aid worker strategy for self promotion: “Body armor in 120 degree heat sucks!” Talking about the highly sophisticated capabilities of security vehicles to protect against rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs as a “waste of taxpayer dollars” or “unnecessary expenditures that should go directly to helping local people” may also be employed as a tactic. Taking illustrative photos adds credibility and fulfills Expat Aid Workers’ love of war junk and need to take pictures next to it.
For female aid workers, establishing a sexual relationship with a PSD is also a thrilling experience. While it is not as admirable as going native and sleeping with the locals, and fellow EAWs may criticize the female in question for “sleeping with the enemy” or “getting next to violent, military types”, the female EAW in a relationship with a PSD will enjoy briefly dating the most masculine, muscular guy she has ever slept with. Upon criticism from fellow Expat Aid Workers in-country about the PSD’s questionable morality, she will almost always tell them that her PSD is “one of the good ones” and that he does not regularly solicit prostitutes in Dubai while on leave.
The vast majority of Expat Aid Workers who have traveled with private security detail will never find themselves in a situation where use of force or emergency measures by their PSDs is necessary. The tiny minority who do experience this are among the elite of the Expat Aid Worker community, as they will have thrilling and terrifying stories with which to regale old friends at bars and future high school class reunions. This will inspire awe and/or envy and remind the EAW of their grit and humanitarian greatness.