Massacre in Afghanistan

Medical/dental workers slain in Afghanistan

The massacre of medical and dental volunteers in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan is horrifying and appalling. As I read stories about the dedicated individuals who donated their time to improving the health of people in Afghanistan, their loss feels very personal. I can imagine people from UNC who easily could have been in that position. Surgeon Karen Woo’s blog detailed her preparations for the trip and the wedding that was to have taken place after she returned.

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It doesn’t make sense to me. I so admire the brave people who go everywhere in the world to save lives and improve health. More and more, Afghanistan seems like a hopeless cause. What can we really hope to accomplish there and at what cost in lives and dollars and at what opportunity costs?

Have a good week. Barbara

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  1. Dylan Isaacson

    The tragedy in Afghanistan is truly a blow against doctors working to advance health worldwide and I was tremendously saddened to hear about it. From what I’ve read, the Taliban murderers attacked the aid workers because they were working for a Christian organization (although that may be an overly simplistic motive). It makes me wonder…in global health is it prudent to separate religion from other aspects of aid work? I know that religion is often the primary factor motivating individuals to do good work abroad and to many religious people, spiritual healing is as integral to their mission as physical healing. Still, if this is what it may lead to in the most dangerous areas of the world, would secularization of aid help more people and prevent further heartbreaking incidents like this one?

  2. Barbara Rimer

    Dylan, this is a really interesting comment. Others who are more knowledgeable might want to comment. If this was robbery, then nothing might have prevented it. Since these were medical aid workers, not medical missionaries, I am not sure what secularization could have done, but it’s a thoughtful question. I wonder if some places just should be off limits to help although there always will be incredibly brave people who will try. Thanks for writing. Barbara

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