Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

SA – While I know that the White Helmets have been exposed and discredited for fabricating distressing incidents and making false claims to deliberately exacerbate an already incendiary situation in Syria, I am absolutely certain that Dr David Nott would never intentionally attempt to politicize the harsh reality of his demanding humanitarian deployments. Is it possible that someone of truly admirable moral character might occasionally misconstrue the far less ethical motivations of other volunteers or combatants during a highly stressful engagement in a major war zone? If that is true, under the circumstances, I can forgive such an inadvertent error.

While I might not necessarily agree with every soundbite attributed to a particular individual, I know from my own personal experience that comments made in haste can be warped out of all proportion by toxic media, especially true when it suites a Tory Government’s jingoistic agenda. When the person quoted has made such an immense personal sacrifice, by contributing on the ground in such an important practical way, I feel duty bound to honour their commitment and try to understand their unique perspective on a truly harrowing situation. Meeting and talking to David Nott as I had the opportunity to do so at the RSM and elsewere, I need no further convincing that he would have no intention of “shilling for” anyone. He may well be a serious adrenaline junkie, but he is also a genuine humanitarian hero saving innocent lives.

The bold decision to volunteer in a combat zone is something that no aid worker ever takes lightly as there is always a significant element of personal risk involved. In Aceh we were told by the UN that the GAM Rebels had never attacked any of the aid workers or tried to impede their interventions, but we were warned not to wear clothing that could be in any way construed as military. As dusk settled and we finished diner together before piling back into the trucks on the long journey over the mountain from Medan to Meulaboh, we were reminded that our convoy would be entering GAM rebel territory, “no lights, get some rest and try to sleep…” I was one of two non-Indonesian Medical Volunteers on a journey to a humanitarian deployment experience I will never forget.

The rebels respected our work on behalf of the impoverished and exploited local population devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami, but their armed resistance still continued. I was seconded to Cut Nyak Dhien, the only Hospital left standing in Meulaboh, where I assisted an Indonesian Navy Surgeon whose Hospital had been obliterated. On one occasion two Indonesian soldiers were bought in; one died and one came to the OR where he was in Surgery until midnight. I took over managing his ventilation until he could be Medevaced out in the morning; “hand-bag” took on a whole new meaning! It felt really scary to be left alone with an unconscious patient and an armed soldier with whom I struggled to communicate; the “no guns allowed rule” wasn’t adhered to that time in Surgery or in transit.

My very limited glimpse of conflict was disquieting enough, but it increases my unreserved respect for David Nott because I know what he must frequently contend with on his humanitarian missions is full scale bloody war. A reference to the Geneva Convention during his presentation sent chills down my spine as this reality leaves aid workers a lot more vulnerable. To clarify, what David was referring to was “Protocol II,” a 1977 amendment to the Geneva Convention relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. It defines certain international laws that strive to provide better protection for victims of internal armed conflicts; the civil wars which take place within the borders of a single country. Despite the more limited scope Protocol II provides, to respect the sovereign rights and duties of national governments, Syria is one of just a handful of countries that have not signed this Protocol.

When you get a rare opportunity to directly interact with David Nott it is immediately apparent that he is a man of strong principals, driven by genuine compassion for the desperate victims that he treats under extremely dangerous and challenging circumstances. There is no underlying agenda beyond his passionate commitment to life-saving surgery that he engages in at considerable risk to his own life. I sincerely doubt that anyone is driven to take such massive personal risks just to make a political point! In any war there is inevitably wrong doing on both sides; as a Humanitarian Medical Volunteer you are often forced to choose the least worst option driven by the overarching determination to preserve life. There are no easy choices.

If I could take a huge megaphone to the vital issue of how the Covid 19 Pandemic will reap a immeasurable catastrophic impact on the Developing World, I certainly would as this looming crisis remains sadly neglected by the mainstream media. Unfortunately our highly connected world does not permit the luxury of sufficient time to institute comprehensive preparations in a Pandemic; those countries who, through extreme poverty and conflict, are already ill equipped to deal with a widespread, highly contagious, infection will be hit the hardest with the greatest loss of life. But we need to understand that “their problem” is right in our back yard and will be ready to engulf the privileged industrialized nations of the world in a second brutal shock wave of despair. Global eradication is the only way to protect ourselves from a deadly mutation if our selfish neglect allows Covid 19 to morph and incubate overseas.

The core statements of my previous post are worth repeating: “The untreated prevalence of Covid 19 in the Developing World increases the likelihood of mutation to an even more deadly strain that we absolutely cannot allow to incubate unimpeded. The Spanish Flu epidemic morphed into a more deadly disease that hit many countries with a second wave of infection and death; we cannot be certain that a vaccine will save us from a similar fate. Covid 19 will not cease to be “our problem” when it is eliminated here! We cannot simply detach the UK from the enormity of the far greater looming crisis overseas because we are just one international flight away from importing a new wave of infection. As Dr. Nott reminds us, this is such a virulent, highly infectious virus that we must treat the global population as one; if we fail to heed his advice we will be forever held hostage by its lingering presence in the poorer nations of the world.”

I featured the Newsnight interview with Dr. David Nott because it was a very well conducted, sympathetic and civilized opportunity to highlight an area of healthcare that I too feel absolutely passionate about: Global Health and how impoverished countries in the Developing World can be assisted in dealing with this Pandemic. You are a very intelligent and thoughtful contributor, but I worry that you might not have understood the focus of the most vital component of my message; perhaps in hindsight you will review the points made from a new perspective. While I am as always respectful of other people’s views, I also hope that this response has clarified my message and succeeded in defending the integrity of a truly remarkable humanitarian volunteer, Surgeon David Nott.

The news this morning is that Theresa May, the former PM who did so little to relieve the burden on the “just about managing,” has mouthed off about how our Government should be meeting our global obligation to offer help in this crisis. Her dishonourable track record of broken promises remains part of a well established ongoing Tory legacy of lies. The current leadership is totally devoid of humanitarian compassion with a laser like focus on exploitation of this crisis both domestically and overseas. It could have been so very different with a progressive Government at the helm, a decisive course of action saving countless lives in the UK and a strong team to restore our international reputation by demonstrating global leadership. If we fail to investigate and correct the injustice of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election we are destined to continue on the current trajectory of disaster under Boris Johnson’s Tory boot. We cannot give up the fight.