Linda Norgrove became the latest civilian casualty in the continuing war in the Middle East. Norgrove was killed by an insurgent’s bomb in Kunar province, where she was being held captive.
Linda Norgrove and three other colleagues were kidnapped on Sept. 26. The other three abducted civilians were released, but Norgrove remained captive. According to the Huffington Post, NATO forces were informed of where Norgrove was being kept and made a rescue attempt for the 36-year-old aid worker. During the rescue attempt, one insurgent was able to detonate a bomb that fatally wounded Norgrove.
Norgrove is certainly not the first civilian to lose her life because of the wars in the Middle East. The total count of civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the war is unknown, but it is believed to be upwards of 20,000. Most of the civilian deaths have been Afghanistan natives and Iraqis, but there have still been plenty of foreigners killed while trying to lend a hand in helping the area get through this time of crisis.
There are three prior civilian deaths that stand out in my mind.
Bigley was a 62-year-old English civil engineer who was kidnapped in Iraq with his two U.S. colleagues on Sept. 16, 2004. One U.S. citizen was beheaded on Sept. 20 and the other one a day later. Bigley was beheaded two weeks later. Videos of all three of the murders were posted on Islamist websites. Bigley’s captives had him send multiple pleas for his life via video to English Prime Minister Tony Blair. Factbites reports that a rescue effort by two members of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6 agents, allowed Bigley to temporarily escape, but that he was recaptured a little later.
The 59-year-old aid worker was kidnapped and killed in Iraq in 2004. Hassan was working as the head of the Iraqi headquarters for Care International. She was abducted on Oct. 19 of 2004 and was murdered approximately a month later. A video of her being murdered was sent to Al Jazeera, the Arab satellite channel, according to Diggers Realm. Her body was never found.
Llyod, 36, died on Jan. 7, 2009, at Brooke Medical Army Center in San Antonio, Texas. According to Sciencemag.org, the anthropologist was wounded in an attack by Taliban soldiers while in Afghanistan on Nov. 5, 2008. She was drenched in fuel and then set on fire by a Taliban member who was posing as an Afghan citizen.
It is not too difficult to find many more civilian deaths like those in the Middle East wars. Notice that these deaths didn’t even include civilian deaths that were caused by NATO forces, like the thousands of Afghan civilians who were killed during the U.S.-led air strikes.
Linda Norgrove will be remembered as a great humanitarian who ultimately put herself in danger just for the opportunity to make other peoples’ lives better. Unfortunately, years down the road, when we look back at the civilian deaths, hers will not stand out too much. Any person who will dedicate his or her life to helping other people deserves to be honored many years after such a tragedy. The problem is that there are too many civilian aid workers and other civilians getting killed during the wars for any one death to stand out many years from now.
Rest in peace, Linda Norgrove; know that you made a difference in many lives in this world before you were abruptly taken from us.