Thursday, April 04, 2013

"Triage: Dro. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma": moral simplification through writing a memoir

In “Triage: Dr. James Orbinksi’s Humanitarian Dilemma”, by Patrick Reed (2008), Dr, Orbinski reitrns to Africa as he writes his memoirs.  The film has a tagline, "Who lives, who dies?"

Others say that being a humanitarian means “sacrificing your own life to save a hundred – a masochistic choice”.  Yet that’s what members of the military face when deployed.  So can civilian relief workers.
Orbinksi talks about what it is like to work with warlords, who use food and medications and sell them for drugs.  He starts his process by revisiting Baidoa, Somalia.

Later the film quotes the first president George H. W. Bush talking about Somalia before Clinton’s botched escapade in 1993 (the subject of Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down” with Josh Hartnett).

Orbinski is known for his leadership of Doctors Without Borders (Medicins sans Frontiers), which became the subject of the 2003 film “Beyond Borders”  (Paramount, Martin Campbell) with Clive Owen and Agelina Jolie.

The film visits Rwanda and maintains that the Clinton administration would not intervene in Rwanda because of the losses of American soldiers in Black Hawk Down. 

Orbinski notes that the war crimes in Bosnia, where “we” come from, are not so unlike those in central Africa.

“By writing you simplify the complexity of the world around you, but the complexity is almost intractable.”

He thinks that citizens should address the politics that create impoverished conditions.

The film comes from Kino and White Pine Pictures, with official site here

Wikipedia attribution link of MSF camp in Zaire. 

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