Johns Hopkins Magazine -- April 1997
Johns Hopkins Magazine

APRIL 1997




P U B L I C    P O L I C Y    A N D    I N T E R N A T I O N A L    A F F A I R S

Author's Notebook
Desparately Seeking Safe Haven
By Dale Keiger

Judy Mayotte is one of those people who make you feel inadequate. I don't mean that in any derogatory sense. She doesn't do it on purpose. From a reporter's standpoint, she's an ideal interview: articulate, cogent, candid, plain spoken. But she has done so many extraordinary things, and borne such pain and hardship and heartbreak with exemplary courage and grace, that I walked out of her apartment in Washington, D.C. and thought to myself, "Okay, Mr. Smart-guy Journalist, what have you made of your life?"

Reading about the refugee crises around the world can be a numbing experience, and that's one of the real problems. You can only take in so many accounts of such suffering before they begin to merge in your mind and you lose sight of these people as individuals with dreams, loved ones, disrupted plans for the future, and the basic human right not to be displaced by the brutality of warring factions and the indifference of the larger world. As I write this, Albania is collapsing, its citizens looting armories for automatic weapons, it's government and military losing control, its civic structure demolished. I know what's next... thousands of people on the move, afraid for their lives, hungry, cold, abused, and unwanted. And I know Judy Mayotte will wish she could get on a plane and go help them.