-för en 'bättre värld'
I just started reading James Orbinski’s An Imperfect Offering: Dispatches From the Medical Frontline, a book I received a couple of days ago. After just two pages I was struck by the most striking introduction I have ever read in a non-fiction book! Here is an excerpt, of course to which I claim no copyright or ownership:
Stories. We all have stories. Nature does not tell stories, we do. We find ourselves in them, make ourselves in them, choose ourselves in them. If we are the stories we tell ourselves, we have better choose them well. This book is a series of stories. I ask again and again, ”How am I to be, how are we to be in relation to the suffering of others?” It is a question that has preoccupied me for much of my life. This is a book of personal narrative about the political journey I have taken over the last twenty years as a humanitarian doctor, as a citizen, and as a man. I have witnessed famine, epidemics of preventable diseases, war and its crimes, and genocide. I have witnessed politics fail and I have witnessed the struggle to be fully human when it does. I have witnessed an endless catalogue of terrors, and in them I saw myself, knowing that I might be merely a spectator to these, that I might suffer these, collaborate with these or inflict them on others. It is not a dispassionate story. I do not pretend to be outside of the events and circumstances I describe. I have lived and live in them, between them and through them. For me, these moments have been bigger than the smallness of time itself. They are personal moments, political moments or moments when there is no difference. Nor is this a sentimental story that meets victims with pity and paternalism or worthy of aid only so long as they are not a source of fear. It is a bout a way of seeing that requires humility, so that one can recognize the sameness of self in the other. It is about the mutuality that can exist between us, if we so choose.