Monday, May 23, 2011

The Life and Loss of Karen Woo .

Last night I watched a programme called The Life and Loss of Karen Woo on ITV1 television. It was a documentary about Karen Woo, a brilliant young British doctor and humanitarian aid worker, who was murdered along with nine of her colleagues in Afghanistan in August 2010. I wrote about this tragedy on my blog at the time, so this follow up documentary made by Karen's fiance Paddy Smith, was of particular interest to me.

Paddy Smith went back to Afghanistan to film in the locations where he and Karen had worked. Paddy spoke to many of the aid workers who worked with Karen. What made this documentary so special was that it included footage of Karen that she took as part of a film she was making.

I found the footage that Karen took of her aid work in Afghanistan very moving. It was not a glamourous celebrity style Princess Diana walk-about but real in-the-field aid worker stuff.

Paddy's footage explored many locations around Afghanistan and explained why Karen fell in love with her work. The editing of this documentary was superb and whenever you saw Karen, it was so very haunting, as if she was speaking from her grave.

The documentary moved on to a very beautiful valley near Nuristan. A very remote area that was unspoilt by man. You could describe this valley as heaven-on-earth but hidden behind some natural looking rocky outcrops were the Taliban. No one could spot the Taliban waiting in the valley for the murderous ambush of the aid workers.

This was a remarkable television programme and I think that Paddy Smith deserves an award for making it. This documentary has bought closure on the murder of Karen Woo but the hard work from aid workers doing health care in Afghanistan continues. To read more about the legacy that Karen has made, visit The Karen Woo Foundation website for more details.
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