The killing of ten civilivans in Afghanistan, with credit proudly taken by the Taliban, leaves me without words. (I'm still typing, so obviously nothing leaves me literally or totally wordless.) Ten people who gave up comfortable existences to help those in need were shot and killed for reasons ranging from bogus to nonexistent. Some were nurses. Others were miscellaneous health care specialists. One, a dentist, looked a great deal like my Uncle Brad, who is also a dentist. I hope my Uncle Brad continues with his selfish pursuit of holding onto his dentistry practice to support himself and his family. His son, my cousin Jeff, has just completed dental school and is considering an extended trip into what I would consider perilous territory for some sort of humanitarian aid mission. Perhaps this will cause him to reconsider.
Compelling evidence showed that these people had no religious commonality; in some cases the humanitarian aids practiced no religion at all. The Taliban claims of the group's working to convert the residents of the area to Christianity lack credibility. Furthermore, why are the Taliban so paranoid of outside groups' attempts to convert their people to religions other than their own extreme brand of Islam? If theirs were such a wonderful form of religion, would we not all be fighting to get into it as opposed to the Taliban leadership's use of force to deny their adherents the knowledge that other religious options even exist?
I know nothing about this incident beyond what I've read in newspapers and on the Internet, or have seen on television. Perhaps I'm the last person in the world who should be offering up an opinion on the topic. What does a sixteen-year-old girl know about killings in Afghanistan?
All I know is that I want no one I love anywhere near that region. Beyond the fact that I have no control over that -- for that matter, I do have a a cousin serving in the military in that region -- I concede the selfishness of my wishes. Underprivileged people in that part of the world should have access to healthcare just as should anyone anywhere.
I've never had a cavity in my life because of fortuitous genetics, fluoridated vitamins, and good dental care, so I have no idea what it's like to experience a single toothache. How can I say that people in Afghanistan should suffer with pervasive dental caries and a host of other dental, visual, and medical problems too numerous to mention? Yet I would be selfish enough to do anything in my power to keep my father, a doctor, from going over there. As far as I know, he has no current delusions of grandeur in relation to saving the world by working his way around the planet starting from the mideast. If he gets any such ideas, however, I'll become the most anorexic, agoraphobic, self-mutilating adolescent the world has seen, someone much too messed up that my father would leave my mother alone to handle the situation. My contingency plan is the epitome of selfishness, yet I would do it in a heartbeat. Some method of helping such needy people must exist or be devised, but until it does not involve religious extremists shooting at people who are merely trying to help, it will have to be accomplished without my close relatives.