Sunday, 19 August 2012

World Humanitarian Day - The mates I have lost.

World Humanitarian Day means different things to different people. Our work is so rewarding, but at times dangerous.I have lost so many friends, colleagues and fellow humanitarian workers in the front-line of duty, and others badly disabled. My closest friend Mac Riding leader of the New Zealand Red Cross in Vietnam tragically lost his life in early 1975. Dr. Sturtzeneger ICRC died in the same plane that was shot down in the conflict.  I have recently been reading a book about the American red Cross in Vietnam during the war and two men and three women lost their lives.

Sugeon Jock Sutherland from NZ Red Cross who was murdered in Pakistan in 1993 and Sheryl Thayer NZRC was also murdered, this time  in Chechnya 96 along with other ICRC colleagues. Reto Neuenschwander, a close friend from ICRC, died in the Congo 1996.

So many volunteers I worked with in Afghanistan from 1993-96 lost their lives caught in the cross fire.. Peter Claney, Dr. Bo Khue are other friends who died working for RCRCand more recently Khalil Dale was so brutally murdered in Pakistan. And here in Sri Lanka where I work now, so many huamanitarian workers lost their lives during a long period of conflict. The list goes on and on.

Let’s remember and honour them tomorrow on World Humanitarian Day on Monday 19 August.


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