In the name of love
SOME would see it as a profession of faith. Others may call it a religion of humanity. Either way, such intrepid devotion to the cause of basic humanism can only merit pure homage — as chaste as the aspiration itself, free of doubt and dismay. Gayle Williams, a 34-year-old British-South African aid worker, was one of many who believed in the doctrine of love. Last week, she lost her life to a bullet in Afghanistan and was laid to rest amid tight security in a Kabul cemetery where, reportedly, 50 family, friends and colleagues were in attendance — and in tears. Williams’ end may have been both unfortunate and dramatic but her last wish was nothing short of memorable — she had asked to be buried in Afghanistan where she worked with disabled children. Her murder has been claimed by the Taliban and fellow aid workers assert that the deceased had been targeted because Serve Afghanistan, the organisation she worked for, was spreading Christianity. Perhaps her desire to be put in the ground in a beleaguered Muslim country — instead of her own, amid her kin — will put such callous cynicism to rest.
Regrettably, Gayle Williams is not the first whose desire to serve humankind in the name of love has been denigrated in the name of either religion or suspicious intentions. Take the case of arguably the greatest ‘seraph’ of our times, Mother Teresa, hailed as the Saint Of The Gutters; she was also subjected to barbs such as the infamous book The Missionary Position and undying accusations of accepting aid regardless of its source. Then there is our indigenous and legendary humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi who, despite working miracles in areas such as rescue, refuge and rehabilitation, has been hounded by accusations as vile as child trafficking. Perhaps societies such as ours deserve fallen heroes. We either destroy our own idols or ensure that they are not free of clay feet. (Dawn)