As a supporting member of the aid organisation Doctors without Borders, I receive their magazine Akut three times a year, which reports on aid projects that the doctors are carrying out in more than 70 countries around the world. I often do not find the time and the necessary inner peace to read these often distressing and touching reports about the work of the doctors on the ground.
This time it was different: I felt the need to read the report of a young German paediatrician in Akut 3-2020, about whom it says in the introduction of the article: “In Yemen, Annette Werner feels she is in the right place – although there has been war for years and now the pandemic is also spreading.” Then there’s a report of an emergency in the middle of the night.
“Unexpected emergencies are part of Werner’s daily routine. Just recently, the phone rang at five in the morning. ‘Annette, we have a severely malnourished infant in a state of shock. You have to come immediately!’ the colleague shouted on the other end. During those two minutes in the car, I recalled the steps for shock treatment of severe malnutrition, which are different from those for a sufficiently nourished child,’ Werner recalls. ‘I ran to the emergency room. It’s crazy how quickly you can be so awake and fully receptive when you need to be.’ A doctor and two nurses tried to place an intravenous line in the girl. The little girl weighed only 2.7 kilograms at six months and was in shock because of persistent diarrhoea. Her skin was ice cold, her circulation collapsed, her eyes were sunken.
‘I should have given intravenous fluids to stabilise the circulation. But because the veins were no longer filled with blood due to the shock, I couldn’t place a venous access’, Werner recalls. ‘Fortunately, they still had a bone drill in the emergency room. That was the last option. I had drilled dozens of needles into chicken bones in trainings – but never in an emergency and certainly not for a girl whose lower leg was barely thicker than my thumb. The danger of piercing the bone was high’.
But everything went well. Werner was able to start shock therapy via the bone needle and could stabilise the girl. ‘I realised how important good training is.’After two weeks of inpatient treatment, she was able to discharge the little patient home in good condition. A little later, the paediatrician met her again: ‘She was laughing and joking with her mother and had gained weight. Hurray for the chicken bones!’”
The report moved me deeply and I was filled with respect in view of the young doctor’s work. The next day I completed a bank transfer. At least I can do that, I thought.
I thank the editors of Current Concerns for making another distressing contribution to raising awareness of the current humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen by publishing UN Secretary-General Guterres’ opening address to the pledging conference for Yemen on 1 March 2021. And I would like to shout at the top of my voice to Jeff Bezos or others, “How dare you …!” But I am afraid they won’t hear it.
Annelene Neuhaus, Cologne
(Translation Current Concerns)
From year to year, I notice an increased aggressiveness towards Russia in the German media. Of course, one should and can critically follow the political events in Russia. But one must note both that double standards are usually applied and that the tone is becoming increasingly harsh. – The way Western governments act against their opposition is often also characterised by inhumanity (examples: Condemnation and threat of punishment for Catalan separatists, treatment of Assange and other whistleblowers, murder of a journalist in a Saudi embassy).
Russia did not start the war in Ukraine nor the war in Syria. Western forces have done much to destabilise and escalate the situation, such as the West’s wars against Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, arms supplies to warring parties in Syria, etc., against international law. There are numerous books on this subject, including Michael Luders’ “Blowback: Six Decades of Western Interference in the Middle East” or “Wir sind die Guten” (We are the good guys) by Matthias Bröckers and Paul Schreyer.
In short: One sees the mote in Russia’s eye, but not the beam in one’s own eye. Regarding the title of a letter to the editor in the 9 March 2021 issue of Current Concerns “One can only hope ...”: Unfortunately, this will probably be a vain hope. For what one hears from Biden is aimed at an escalation of the relationship with Russia. Trump had once taken office and actually wanted a better relationship with this country. However, he came under so much political pressure at home that his attitude changed. Under Biden, the situation is clearly getting worse. He called Putin a murderer – statements of this kind are neither acceptable nor appropriate. On the subject, there is a great speech by Sahra Wagenknecht in the German Bundestag. Among other things, she talked about the fact that NATO spends about $900 billion on armament, while Russia spends only $66 billion. The relentless build-up of a threat from Russia to the West is specious and hypocritical. Yes, unfortunately, I am very afraid that the West wants to march against Russia again as it did in the 19th century (Napoleon) and in the 20th (Hitler), like that it is now probably to be attempted in the 21st century. If one thinks of the further planned massive nuclear armament of NATO, one can only despair in view of this irrational unreasonableness and the insatiable greed for Russia’s natural resources. That one could win German soldiers for a war against Russia, I can hardly imagine in view of our history. But the army is also becoming more and more diverse and colourful – many of these people no longer have the connection to this dark chapter of our history. It is not for nothing that a generation of German politicians – including Helmut Schmidt, Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder, among others – have spoken out in favour of good relations with Russia. After all, there are some European states that do not want to accept Russia as an enemy. These include above all Serbia and Hungary – and perhaps also Italy to some extent.
A short time ago, journalist Sebastian Huld on ntv clearly publicly called Russia an enemy. It has already come that far. Many people of Europe may now hope that this “enemy” can finally deliver its vaccine and thus save many lives.
M. Weiss, Greifswald (Germany)
(Translation Current Concerns)