Eyes in Gaza: Dr. Mads Gilbert lecture at St. Olaf on Saturday

Allison Schmitt  Eyes in Gaza press releaseEyes in Gaza flyer
Allison Schmitt (Facebook profile link) is a free-lance writer who’s a relative newcomer to Northfield.  She stopped by my corner office at GBM yesterday to let me know about a talk coming up on Saturday at St. Olaf, by Dr. Mads Gilbert, a professor and clinical head of emergency medicine at the University of North Norway, Tromsø.  His talk "is sponsored by Oles for Justice in Palestine, with support from Northfielders for Justice in Palestine/Israel."

See the poster and the press release on the talk, as well as the description of the event by Barbara Hill on Northfield.org.  

2 thoughts on “Eyes in Gaza: Dr. Mads Gilbert lecture at St. Olaf on Saturday”

  1. A write-up by Jonathan Hill:

    More than 150 people attended the April 14 talk by Dr. Mads Gilbert in St Olaf’s largest and audio-visually best equipped auditorium. Mads was particularly complimentary about this second point: not only did the system perfectly relay his sophisticated graphics (which often combined stills and video) and the audio dimension (which included, among many striking tracks, a terrifying overlay of the sound of the Israeli bombardment), but there was also plenty of room for him to walk up and down in front of the large projection screen above him, something he like to do as he talks.

    He was completely at ease with his material and his delivery. He immediately established, and maintained, an engaging rapport with his audience. To me, he is particularly admirable type of Norwegian–lean, vital, alert, full of sparkling humor and moral energy in equal measure; at one moment laughing and joking, at the next unselfconsciously indignant at the wrongs and sufferings in the world; always balanced, fair, clear-sighted and open-minded; never shying away from issuing to his audience the challenge of right action. He makes an enormously powerful spokesman–and nowhere more so than in this Scandinavian derived area of the US–for the Palestinian cause.

    I found the structure of his talk most effective (even if it was too long: he was eager to take suggestions for how it might have been trimmed). It focused, wrenchingly, on individual stories, mostly those of the children. It contained empirical and statistical evidence from unimpeachable sources (I instantly warmed to his respect for the leading British medical journal The Lancet: my father being a doctor, my childhood home was littered with Lancets!). It ranged back and forth in time, in topic, in kinds of material, but always it returned to the the visceral dimension of the individual, innocent victim. And his repeated refrain was driven home though reiteration: “No one has been blamed. No one has been held accountable.”

    One of the most compelling organizing themes of his talk was the incontrovertible connection between medicine and politics: that Gaza suffers from under-nourishment, that the level of stunted growth among its young is increasing remorselessly, that there is no adequate water supply or sanitation system, all of these, and other deficiencies, are the direct result of calculated, ice-cold, Israeli political decisions. Standards and conditions of health and living are politically rooted.

    Lastly, Mads’ core appeal to his audience: he urged not pity for the Palestinians, but solidarity with them in their trials. They want the powerful and supportive connection that can exist between human beings of equal status and shared human rights.

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