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Some were paid. Some felt compelled by a duty to God. Some volunteered. Some died doing it. All flew on rickety old aircraft into a nighttime, wartime patch of African forest called Biafra.

Far Away in the Sky gives the personal account of one of them, a young American volunteer who joined the largest international humanitarian relief airlift ever attempted. In 1968 millions of people, mostly children, were starving due to a military blockade of Biafra, the former Eastern Region of Nigeria. The World Council of Churches and Caritas International mounted a relief airlift. Flying at night to avoid Nigerian Migs, without radar or any modern navigational aids, landing amid bombs on a stretch of road in the rain forest, the old planes delivered thousands of tons of food and medicines.

UNICEF recruited six former United States Peace Corps Volunteers, including the author, to help unload the planes. The former volunteers had served in Nigeria and were familiar with the area and the people. To David Koren the people of Biafra, his former students and fellow teachers, constituted his motive for joining the airlift.

More than just a memoir of events, Far Away in the Sky promotes a discussion of international aid, of the balance between the grace of giving and the dignity of receiving aid, and the policies of governments toward intervention or non-intervention in humanitarian disasters. How do the lessons of Biafra apply to modern eruptions like Rwanda, Darfur, Libya, Syria and those yet to come? [READ MORE...]

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