Taking a car from Dushanbe, Tajikistan's easy-going capital city, to the Afghanistan border requires special permission from government authorities. I didn't have it.
I'm writing from the Congolese border town of Goma, overlooking the expansive waters of Lake Kivu and, in the near distance, the hills of Rwanda. Sunset here always seems to promise a tomorrow in which the region's sad history of violence might pass.
But over the weekend the sadness deepened when we learned that a plane crash robbed the region of one of its fiercest advocates, Alison Des Forges of Human Rights Watch.
In a rare outing from the Rangoon home in which she is imprisoned, democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with U.N. special envoy to Burma Ibrahim Gambari on Monday to discuss the possibility of political reform in her country.
Barack Obama's foreign-policy advisers must be hoping that Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is ready to pull a rabbit out of his mashadda. If Obama is determined to close Guantanamo when he takes office, he'll have to strike a deal with Saleh over repatriation conditions for dozens of Yemeni men who are currently stuck in diplomatic limbo.
In the North Kivu province of eastern Congo, people are living in ditches along the sides of roads. They're filling up the floors of churches and schools. Displaced people are surrounding the compounds of bewildered U.N. peacekeepers. Young boys and men are hiding in the forest to avoid being killed or forced into armed groups.