We would like to thank Kathy Kelly, Chicago based humanitarian worker and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, for joining EMERGENCY USA as a guest blog author. After traveling to the EMERGENCY Surgical Center in Kabul, Kelly reflected on her experience in a piece entitled “In EMERGENCY,” which was published on Telesur English on August 13th.
This is the final segment of a five part series (read part 1, read part 2, read part 3, read part 4) in which Kelly reports on the life-saving care provided at the Kabul Surgical Center. By sharing her personal view of EMERGENCY’s impact in Afghanistan, Kelly joins Khaled Hoseini and many other EMERGENCY USA supporters who believe that high quality healthcare is a basic human right.
Walking through the hospital grounds with Giacomo, I recalled, over the years, watching the EMERGENCY staff in Kabul play volleyball with local teams. “What happened to the court?” I asked. Giacomo stood still and let out a long sigh. “Ahhh, yes, over this I nearly resigned.” He’s joking. But to build the new wing, they had to destroy the court. He apparently led a great volleyball team.
An emergency – an emergent situation – is a situation that confronts us, that comes out where we can see it and have to deal with it. In the U.S., we tend to punctuate lives of entertainment with moments of concern for people abroad, moments, even, of activism. The “Emergency” staff here in Afghanistan struggles to find moments of entertainment to remove them, briefly, from the emergency.
In my home country of the U.S., ten time zones out beyond the sunset here, the war in Afghanistan doesn’t emerge into everyday life for most people. It doesn’t arise, it doesn’t come up –it’s a war that has generally been forgotten before it has ended.
To the families and neighbors of the bereaved here, to those suffering illnesses without treatment, for those whose bodies are maimed by shrapnel from U.S. munitions or from the weapons of forces the U.S. government has prodded into relentless battle, – to these people, and to the doctors and nurses who’ve chosen to work here among them, what’s happening is an emergency. The people who are suffering emerge, always, as real human beings.