Some of Michael's Friends have put up a blog with links to many of the tributes to him that have appeared in the press and on the Internet, including to obituaries in the Boston Globe and on the website of the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, where Michael worked before leaving for Afghanistan.
From the Watson Institute tribute:
Michael's death while working for NATO's Regional Command/East came as I and other researchers have been trying to evaluate the claims of the U.S. and some journalists that its counter-insurgency activities in the region, including Michael's work, have been succeeding in improving security in this contested region across from Pakistan's North Waziristan Tribal Agency. By coincidence, as I was receiving and circulating information about Michael's sad death, I received another notice of the incident -- as a statistic. My source in Kabul has updated the comparison between number of Taliban and other insurgent attacks per week in 2008 and 2007. As I noted previously, data from the first 17 weeks showed a significant spike over the previous year in RC/E. The statistics from the first 18 weeks are now in, and the increase over last year continues.
In addition to graduating magna cum laude in international relations from Brown University, Michael was a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute from July 2006 to June 2007. At the Institute, he was involved in a research project on Cultural Awareness in the Military, writing his PhD dissertation, and teaching a senior seminar on "The US Military: Global Supremacy, Democracy and Citizenship."
Over several years, Michael’s research and humanitarian work took him to such conflict zones as Sahrawi refugee camps, East Timor, and Kosovo, in addition to Afghanistan.
Of his work in Afghanistan, Michael wrote in November: “The program has a real chance of reducing both the Afghan and American lives lost, as well as ensuring that the US/NATO/ISAF strategy becomes better attuned to the population's concerns, views, criticisms and interests and better supports the Government of Afghanistan.”
Michael had recently published some of his research on Afghanistan.
His co-authored book on Afghanistan, Arms and Conflict: Armed Groups, Disarmament and Security in a Post-War Society was just released by Routledge in April. It assesses small arms and security-related issues in post-9/11 Afghanistan.
His edited book on Terrorism and the Politics of Naming was published by Routledge last September. Stating that names are not objective, the book seeks the truth behind those assigned in such cases as the US hunt for al-Qaeda, Russia’s demonization of the Chechens, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In August, his personal three-part photo essay, “Shooting Afghanistan: Beyond the Conflict,” was published by theGlobalist. In it, he wrote:
“Afghanistan will soon reach a desperate milestone – the thirtieth anniversary of ongoing conflict. … Though I have spent the majority of my time there researching the wars and those involved in it, conflict is not my primary memory and way of knowing it. I am compelled to write about experiences and ideas that cannot be placed into analytical paradigms, which do not speak to theories of war or peace, to destruction or to reconstruction, but instead to daily interactions that occurred in the course of research.”
But this time, we know the name of one of the statistics from week 18: Michael Bhatia.
The memorial blog for Michael contains links to his writings and photographs, as well as information on memorial services in the U.S. and U.K., where Michael studied at Oxford. It also includes information on how to contribute to a scholarship fund that is being established in his name.