Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TrinityUnitedMethodistChurchBlog/~3/87BRabIMoek/
Anne Smedinghoff, 25, died in a bomb attack Saturday while delivering donated books to a new school in Zabul Province.
(Rev. Miriam Slejko / April 8, 2013) As I unfolded this morning’s paper the disturbing headline “Targeted Killing Comes to Define War on Terror” pushed me further into the paper. Turning the pages I paused at the picture of a beautifully vibrant young woman. Trying to reconcile the picture of Anne Smedinghoff with the headline, “U.S. Diplomat Killed on Afghan Mission She Coveted”, I read her story.
Following graduation from Johns Hopkins University three years ago Anne joined the Foreign Service. She moved to Kabul in July 2012. Living inside the embassy compound she was safe, but frustrated.
“Family and friends said Anne Smedinghoff had chafed at the restrictions that American diplomats can face in Afghanistan, where the excitement and passion for Foreign Service are often dampened by lives circumscribed by blast walls and checkpoints and fortified compounds.” (NY Times – 4-8-13)
For Ms. Smedinghoff, the Foreign Service was a calling, her parents, Tom and Mary Beth Smedinghoff, said in a statement. “She particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work directly with the Afghan people and was always looking for opportunities to reach out and help to make a difference in the lives of those living in a country ravaged by war,” they said. “We are consoled knowing that she was doing what she loved, and that she was serving her country by helping to make a positive difference in the world.”
Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement on Sunday held up Ms. Smedinghoff. “A brave American was determined to brighten the light of learning through books written in the native tongue of the students that she had never met, but whom she felt compelled to help. … And she was met by cowardly terrorists determined to bring darkness and death to total strangers.” Attempting to avoid the controversial and perplexing policies of our government promoted in bold headlines this morning’s paper, I found the story of one woman’s unvarnished passion for peace with justice.
Targeted killing is not a new concept. Unmanned drones are a new tool for a practice as old as the cross. The killing of unnamed and distant human beings is no less abhorrent than the killing of one committed young woman who was called to help students, she never met, have a future.
As uncomfortable as I am with the politics of war I cannot avoid my responsibility to learn, assess and address the policies of my government. “The church is called to exert a strong ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies and programs deemed to be just and opposing policies and programs” that are not. (Social Principle of the United Methodist Church 2009-2012)