Senegal RPCV Killed in Mali Attack

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.”

9 Comments

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  • This is so tragic!

    As an RPCV Senegal, (1993-96) Ms. Datar would have found herself in that wonderful country just after I left.

    I salute her mission and her passion. Her work will leave its effects, and she will be remembered with love and gratitude.

    My condolences to her family and especially to her little boy.

    Siggal n’Digali
    (I share this)

    Leita Kaldi

  • John, Maybe you can somehow forward on to Dr. Molly Geidel the NYTimes report on RPCV Anita Datar’s death.

    Geidel’s book explores “how the 1960s Peace Corps “embodied a radicalized, gendered vision of modernity that linked economic integration to freedom, frontier masculinity, and global brotherhood.’”

    Maybe (for me at least) you could ask Geidel if Anita’s Peace Corps tour and post-Peace Corps service are what Geidel means by the above passage quoted from her book.

  • Miss Molly sounds bitter and angry…the sacrifice made by our RPCV Anita in Mali is what Peace Corps is all about. Anita is the example of the Third Goal and sharing with the communities we served. RPCV Chris Stevens also gave his life, we are proud of our Volunteers, past and present and Staff. You honor us Anita and Chris, we will carry on from here!
    Con un fuerte abrazo,
    Bob Arias

  • If Molly had bothered to get to know people like Anita, she would learn that, when it came to female volunteers, strong-minded, intelligent women with a curious disposition and a big heart were not at all unusual. In my Peace Corps experience (Ethiopia 66-68) such women were more often the norm than the exception.

  • Kate Puzey should be remembered, also, the courageous serving Volunteer who was murdered after attempting to protect her students from sexual exploitation.

  • Anita Ashok Datar was killed in Mali yesterday carrying on the values she learned as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

    Peace Corps volunteers go to the edge of the world where it burns and return home to raise their children and share to their values with others. Four of our children also served and all of them serve daily in their communities as teachers and in women’s health.

    Peace Corps Volunteers Learn Peace, Live Peace, and Labor for Peace from the beginning of their service to the end of their lives.

    Anita was working on Women’s Health and Education in Mali after having once served in Senegal. Anita Ashok Datar died a hero to many of us. Her lifetime of service was tragically cut short. She represented the best values of America. Our heart goes out to her family and especially her young son. May we remember her courage.

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