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I was just in the shower listening to Gov. David Patterson talking about the crash, and he was listing people who had died, and he said Alison Des Forges, and I knew immediately whom he was talking about. She was a parent and occasional teacher at my grade school. I was in her French class. Her daughter Jessie was either a year older or a year younger than me or maybe my age (it was a Montessori school and there were three grades together in each class, so it’s hard to remember). I was on the swim team with her brother. I can’t remember his name, but I remember he was learning to speak Chinese when most of us were still working on getting a grip on English.
I supposed it’s possible that it’s a different Alison Des Forges, but I doubt it, because the one who was on the plane worked for Human Rights Watch and wrote about the Rwandan genocide. I remember in grade school the whole Des Forges family left for a year to live in Africa, and again for a year to live in China. Alison gave the school a great presentation about what it was like to live in Africa. I still remember Jessie telling me what it was like to be the only white people around. Everyone wanted to touch her blond hair.
I feel horrible for Jessie and her brother. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through right now.
UPDATE: It’s definitely her. CNN posted a picture.
UPDATE: The Times online has a nice article about Alison Des Forges’ accomplishments and dedication.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom