U.S. Victim of Mali Attack Worked on Women’s Health
By LIAM STACKNOV. 20, 2015
New York Times
Anita Ashok Datar, an American public health worker from the Washington suburbs, was killed Friday when gunmen attacked a luxury hotel in Mali‘s capital, Bamako, killing at least 19 people and taking as many as 100 more hostage.
She is the only American known to have died in the attack, according to United Nations officials.
Ms. Datar, who lived in Takoma Park, Md., loved the fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith and was the mother of a young son, Rohan. Her Facebook page has pictures of the two of them together during a series of family milestones: vacations, Halloween and the first day of school.
In a statement released Friday, her family said that of all her accomplishments, Ms. Datar was most proud of him.
“We are devastated that Anita is gone – it’s unbelievable to us that she has been killed in this senseless act of violence and terrorism,” they wrote. She worked for the Palladium Group, an international development consulting firm in Washington, and had spent over a decade working on issues related to family planning, reproductive health and H.I.V. in Africa and Asia.
A Facebook post from June showed the languid waters of the White Nile near Juba, the capital of South Sudan. “It sort of felt like the wild, wild west,” she wrote.
Ms. Datar was born in Massachusetts and grew up in New Jersey, her family said. She was in the Peace Corps in Senegal from 1997 to ’99 and had a passion for the rights and well-being of women and girls living in poverty around the world.
She helped found Tulalens, an organization committed to putting low-income women “in charge of their health and the health of their families,” its website says.
The family said that although they were “angry and saddened” that Ms. Datar had been killed, “we know that she would want to promote education and health care to prevent violence and poverty at home and abroad, not intolerance.”