When hearing of the execution of eight medical aid-workers and two Afghan interpreters by as-yet-unidentified bastards in Badakhshan, I had a shock as a sometime acquaintance of mine is a part-Chinese doctor called Karen. Fortunately, her surname is not Woo.
This week Priyamvada Gopal objected to presenting the mutilation of sexually disobedient women as justification for aid missions to Afghanistan (and proceeded to reduce the history of female emancipation in Western societies to bikini waxes). Such articles really make me wish for a “For Fuck’s Sake!” option on Facebook.
Whilst this moral blackhole was also reducing the history of female emancipation in Western societies to bikini waxes – all from the battle-ground of Cantabrigian cloisters where a paper-cut really can chafe – Woo was traveling through the Afghan badlands with the Christian charity, International Assistance Mission to provide mobile medical care to the rural regions.
She appears to have resigned a well-paid job with BUPA to join this, and as the final missive on her personal blog showed, was intensely proud of her work. A related blog gives a heart-breaking announcement of the events from colleagues at IAM.
Claims have been made by Taleban sources (operating under condition of anonymity, no doubt) that the doctors were carrying Christian pamphlets and Bibles translated into Dari. I do not know if Woo were a practicing Christian (although, several of her colleagues were), and I do not particularly care.
It would be beyond obscene to suggest, as Gopal no doubt would try, that a theoretical possibility of another religion being introduced to the noble savages in Afghanistan is more noteworthy than bringing medical aid to disease-riven areas. Unlike Gopal, maybe, I doubt the inhabitants think of living with TB or leprosy as worth while when the alternative is Big Macs, East Enders, Coca Cola and Wayne Rooney.
Woo’s convoy was not the first Christians, or those working with Christians to have been so monstrously targeted in the region. In October 2008, Gayle Williams – working with Serve Afghanistan – was assassinated on a Kabul street. In March 2010, another Christian charity, World Vision temporarily suspended operations in Pakistan after six of its local workers were executed at Manserah in circumstances similar to Woo et al.
Maybe Gopal would tell the reader that they should see these in context.
That Jesus-bloke said something about our being known by our fruits. What sweet fruits Woo will be remembered by, and may her murderers have no more than the zaquum fruit whilst being scalded by the burning flatus of Zalambur.
UPDATE – Woo’s family has released a statement. She was due to marry in a fortnight.
UPDATE2 – Afghan Police have announced that they have arrested one of the surviving convoy drivers.
UPDATE3 – Mehdi Hassan of The New Statesman staves off attempts by unnamed individuals who might be tempted to use events to make a cheap political point by delivering a broadside against an unspecified but “desperate” “pro-war brigade”.