It has been one year since we lost Dr Gino Strada, the founder of EMERGENCY, the war surgeon, the peace activist, the man.
“Hi, I’m fine but I feel a lot of pain. What happened to my right leg, why is it gone?”
“Unfortunately a mine exploded and shattered your leg. We had to amputate it, but don’t worry: we will replace it with another one, you can walk and play with it, like you used to.”
“Where am I?”
“This room is an intensive care unit.”
Dr Gino came back to visit me several more times. Once he arrived holding two crutches. He carried me, helped me to stand up on one leg, adjusted the crutches and told me to look forward.
From that gesture I knew he was giving me the chance to get up and recover… to start my life again.
“Let’s go!” he said.
“Try walking, Soran. Rehabilitation exercises are essential to learn how to walk with your new prosthesis.”
With those words, Dr Gino urged me to start again.
He also told me that I could go back to school. “I don’t want to go back to school,” I told him immediately. He promised me that if I did, he would give me the best bicycle in the world… and so he did.
That promise gave me the courage to go home and then back to school, with my prosthesis, and finish my fifth year.
22 years after that promise, we met again. It happened in Milan, in 2019, during EMERGENCY’s annual festival.
When we saw each other, Dr Gino and I hugged for a long time.
Thank you, Gino. For your humanity, for all your opposition to war, for all the difficult days you’ve faced together with EMERGENCY, for always being on the side of your patients.
One month ago, on 13 August, Gino left us. Today we remember him through the words of Soran, whom Gino met in 1996.
Today, Soran is married, he has two daughters, and he is a teacher. He specialises in history, art and literature, but he also teaches his students how to recognise landmines and how they can avoid them.