Many of BT readers probably recall that the only reports coming out of Gaza during the Israeli incursion exactly a year ago was from Norwegian doctors Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse.
Apart from his work in Gaza, Professor Gilbert was recently also featured in CNN’s special “Cheating Death” with Sanjay Gupta.
Ten years ago, Anna Bagenholm was a 29-year-old Norwegian medical resident on a ski excursion when an accident landed her head first, in a freezing stream. In his book and documentary, Gupta recounts how Bagenholm’s core body temperature dipped to 56°F. She was clinically dead for three hours, yet doctors still managed to reviveher. Despite staggering odds, Bagenholm eventually made a full recovery. Gupta describes the “miracle” of her survival as not due to luck, but instead as the result of evidence-based calibrations and her experienced medical team, led by emergency physician Dr. Mads Gilbert.
Anyway, Drs. Gilbert and Fosse have now published a book on their experiences in Gaza during Cast Lead.
“The boy with the destroyed brain did not need anaesthetic; he could no longer feel anything. The other lay in an artificial coma with intravenous anaesthetic agents to soften the pain and allow the ventilator to work without resistance from the boy’s own breathing. A large bandage covered both his eyes. He could not see anyway. He was already blind.
Where could I cry out the despair and rage I felt for all this terrible fate we saw at such close quarters? Would the heavens hear? Will the world hear? They know that this is happening, after all. The numbers tick into the West every single afternoon, to the news agencies, to the intelligence services and to the diplomatic missions of the world’s most powerful nations, who do not even make an attempt to pull in the reins and control the wildness of the Israeli war machine.”
[This is a sneak excerpt from Dr. Mads Gilbert & Dr. Erik Fosse’ new book – “Eyes in Gaza” soon to be published in English.]
In the course of Israel’s 22-day-long military offensive on the Gaza Strip, 1,400 Palestinians were killed: very few of them armed men, but mostly civilians, including more than four hundred children. More than 5.500 were injured. The Palestinian community lay in ruins again. For a number
of days, the Norwegian doctors Erik Fosse and Mads Gilbert were the only Western eyewitnesses to this death and destruction. Their sober reporting contributed to a change in attitudes, in large parts of the Western world, towards one of the most prolonged and complex conflicts of our time.
This book is about Fosse and Gilbert’s trip to Gaza and their stay there from 31. December 2008 to 11. January 2009. Despite Israeli authorities having seen to systematically filtering and shutting out people from this conflict zone, NORWAC (Norwegian Aid Committee), succeeds in getting its envoys into Gaza City while all other aid organizations and Western
journalists are left standing by the border.
Israeli authorities were obviously livid that outsiders were actually there to report on the atrocities they were inflicting on the Palestinian population and have campaigned incessantly to vilify the two doctors.
The book has already caused controversy. Especially since the Norwegian Foreign Minister wrote an afterword in the book with praise for Gilbert and Fosse. The Israeli government is “outraged” and strongly criticizes him for doing so.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Haaretz that the book being endorsed by Jonas Gahr Store is “outrageous and borders on incitement made up of fabrication and lies.”
“It is problematic that a representative of a democratic government is praising such things,” Ayalon added. Advertisement
The book in question is called “Eyes in Gaza,” written by Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse after their stay in the Strip during Operation Cast Lead last year.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said he was “deeply disappointed” by Store’s endorsement of “slanted and baseless libel.” “Norway, which I hope will continue to live far away from terrorism, needs to know that such statements feed and assist the terrorists,” Kantor said.
“As can be recalled, journalists and reporters were not allowed into Gaza,” a spokesperson for the Norwegian foreign ministry said when asked about the back-cover praises which Store wrote for the highly controversial book.
“When war rages, civilians are made mute,” Store wrote, adding that Fosse and Gilbert “told of what they saw. It was not their duty, but their responsibility. When military might fences out all voices, the few which remain become extra strong and important.”
Pretty rich “outrage” considering that the Israeli government and its “defense” forces most likely violated human rights and may have committed crimes against humanity.
The UN Fact Finding Mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone, released its long-awaited report on the Gaza conflict on September 15. The report concludes that there is evidence indicating that serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.
The report also concludes there is evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes as well as possibly crimes against humanity, in their repeated launching of rockets and mortars into Southern Israel.
Professor Gilbert is about to start a tour of campuses across the US and Canada to present the book. Maybe you’ll have opportunity to participate.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Monday January 18th : Ottawa (UofO)
Tuesday January 19th: Sudbury (Laurentian)
Wednesday January 20th: Toronto (Ryerson)
Thursday January 21st: Kingston (Queens
Friday January 22nd: Hamilton (McMaster)
Monday January 25th: Waterloo University
Tuesday January 26th: Calgary (UofC)
Wednesday January 27th: Edmonton (UofA)
Thursday January 28th: Victoria, (UVIC)
Friday January 29th: Vancouver (UBC)
Monday February 1st: Chicago (Benedictine)
Tuesday February 2nd: Chicago (DePaul)
Wednesday February 3rd: New York (Columbia)
Friday February 5th: Montreal (McGill)