Green Parrots: A War Surgeon’s Diary by Gino Strada

Gino Strada was a war surgeon and one of the co-founders of EMERGENCY.
EMERGENCY was founded in 1994 in Milan (Italy). It is a humanitarian non-governmental organization that provides free medical treatment to people affected by conflict and poverty.
The book “Green Parrots: A War Surgeon’s Diary” is very important to understand the consequences of war for civilian victims, especially children. The book was written in 1999 and translated into many languages.
Several pages of the book were read by my students in our class, including the following significant ones:

“This new hallucinatory “disease”, anti-personnel mines, which is transmitted from parents to children in an almost hereditary way, must be documented.
Ashad and his father know the cows and sheep, and the laws of the seasons. They know nothing about war, mines and detonators, nor do they know who to thank for their misfortunes.
It is so, it happened to the father, to the son, and probably it will also happen to their grandchildren.
When will this inhumane carnage end?
Three landmines per inhabitant in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Ashad tries the new crutches. We mount rubber caps at the ends so they do not slide. Now he can walk upright and with a faster pace. He is happy.
He leaves, with his father’s hand on his right shoulder, like a crippled wolf dog guiding the blind. Now this is in fact his role in the family, since he can no longer look after the livestock.
For now, we can offer him nothing but new crutches, but we make him a promise that fills him with joy. In the evening in the surgical team, we discuss the possibility of setting up an orthopaedic and rehabilitation center making prostheses, and teaching people here how to make them. Many people’s lives could change, they could still feel useful, they could…
The idea of that child acting as a guide dog does not go down.
Let’s talk about what might happen to Ashad’s son twenty years from now. This chain must be broken”.

One of my students, Zaki, boy with a beautiful sensitivity, who likes to talk about his emotions, was moved. His voice was moved, and so was mine.
He asked me about the places of mutilated children, the doctor who wrote this book… We searched together on the EMERGENCY website to read the activities that the organization carries out around the world.
Then, I produce with Zaki the book trailer. He was excited to participate.
Thank you Zaki for making me relive the stories of the book.
Zaki and I recommend everyone to read the book.


Chiara Distante



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