Bound by Sacrifice

Today's New York Times has a moving account of the ten aid workers murdered in Afghanistan:

Their devotion was perhaps most evident in what they gave up to carry out their mission: Dr. Thomas L. Grams, 51, left a thriving dental practice; Dr. Karen Woo, 36, walked away from a surgeons salary; Cheryl Beckett, 32, had no time for courtship or marriage. Most of all, the 10 medical workers massacred in northern Afghanistan last week six Americans, one German, one Briton and two Afghans sacrificed their own safety, in a calculated gamble that weighed the risk against the distribution of eyeglasses and toothbrushes, pain relief and prenatal care to remote villages they reached on foot.

The article concludes:

One of two Afghans killed, Ahmed Jawed, 24, a cook, had been excitedly considering what to do with the $20 a day in overtime he would earn on the trip. Mr. Jawed was the main breadwinner for his wife, three children and extended family, and was known in his neighborhood for the collection of 500 audiotapes he would break out for weddings or parties. The second Afghan victim, Mahram Ali, 51, supported two disabled sons on his salary of $150 a month.Mr. Jaweds brother Abdul Bagin said of the killers: They were infidels; not human, not Muslims. They killed my brother without any judgment, without any trial, without talking to him.Mr. Bagin saw the body in the morgue in Kabul and said there was a single bullet wound, which forensic personnel told him was fired at close range, through the heart.

The rest is here.

Robert P. Imbelli, a long-time Commonweal contributor, is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. A book of essays in his honor, The Center Is Jesus Christ Himself, edited by Andrew Meszaros, was published this year by The Catholic University of America Press.

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