Doctors and their Collaborators in War Torn Areas
For doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war torn areas, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.
Let us pray for doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war-torn areas, who risk their lives to save the lives of others
Hands of concern: Doctors and collaborators in war zones
Robin Coupland, a surgeon in the war-torn Somalia of early 1990 will know the value of this papal intention better than anybody else. While he was in the operating theatre, a colleague standing next to him was shot.
By Joe Palathunkal
“For doctors and their humanitarian collaborators in war zones, who risk their lives to save the lives of others.” This is the papal intention for the month of April 2019 when we are in the last weeks of Lent that reminds about the passion and death of the greatest wounded healer in human history.
Inspired by this healer millions have become doctors and nurses around the world throughout history but their history becomes another story when they venture to heal the wounded in the war zones and we have no count of how many hundreds might have lost their lives while they were on a mission ‘to protect the life and dignity of the victims’ of war zones as the Red Cross states.
Through the intention of this month Pope Francis wants to draw the attention of the whole world to these hands of concern who are engaged in the riskiest healing mission everywhere and every time especially in a warmongering world.
Robin Coupland, a surgeon in the war-torn Somalia of early 1990 will know the value of this papal intention better than anybody else. While he was in the operating theatre, a colleague standing next to him was shot and since they had no sandbags at hand to pile up a defence, they arranged boxes of intravenous fluids against the windows to protect all the patients from the gunshots.
The paradox is that while the wars keep on wounding and killing, these doctors and nurses keep on bandaging and healing to give life. The tragedy is that in a war, those who heal get hardly any attention while those who wound get all the attention as if it is the inevitability of the war. Through this intention Pope Francis wants to reverse this trend and he calls the attention of the whole world to the healing hands in the war zones.
We must remember that no war would have been fought if these doctors and their collaborators did not venture to risk their lives. But individuals like Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton and Mary Seacole have heralded to the whole world the risks of these hands of concern in the war zones.
The war zone healers are indeed doing the ministry of Jesus who went around restoring health and wholeness against oppositions and criticisms but the doctors or nurses in the war zones face a different opposition that emerges from the situation itself.
Through this prayer intention we are reminded that our mission here is to heal not to wound through war and violence. The intention particularly mentions that we must pray for those ‘who risk their lives to save the lives of others’ and that is indeed the Christian angle. The One who died on the cross was not in fact dying he was giving his life to give us life. And that is the crux of the passion and death of Christ – the sum total of Lent.
No wonder, the biggest war time healing mission is called Red Cross, the only healing symbol mandated for every medical institution and coincidentally all those outstanding hands of concern in war zones were all Christians.
(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)
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