An Imperfect Offering (eBook)
An Imperfect Offering (eBook)
"This book is a series of stories in which I ask, again and again, how to be in relation to the suffering of others.' It is a personal narrative about the political journey I have taken over the last twenty years as a humanitarian doctor, as a citizen, and as a man. This is a story about a way of seeing that requires humility, so that one can recognize the sameness of self in the other. It is about the mutuality that can exist between us, if we so choose. I have come to see humanitarianism not as separate from politics, but in relation to it, and as a challenge to political choices that too often kill or allow others to be killed. Speaking is the first political act. It is the first act of liberty, and it always implicitly involves another. In speaking, one inherently recognizes that I am and I am not alone.' In this space lies our humanity."
Having seen things we hope never to see, confronted suffering, dispassion, and evil we hope never to encounter, and faced deep personal torment, James Orbinski still believes in "the good we can be if we so choose." His chosen medium is stories from his own experience-a form of testimony from the front lines-embodied in which are warnings, hope, and lessons in how we can inject humanitarian activity into our lives. Being political, he has discovered, is not only reserved for politicians; admitting imperfection is essential to compassion. The crystal clarity of Orbinski's voice is matched by the urgency of his message; at a time of great political and moral uncertainty, An Imperfect Offering is invaluable reading for anyone who feels he/she can make a difference.
About the Author
James Orbinski is past international president of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, and accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for MSF in 1999. I n 2004, he left MSF to found Dignitas International, an organization for people living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world. He lives in Canada.
Praise for An Imperfect Offering…
“The cataclysm of butchery that engulfed far too many places and took far too many lives began after the fall of communism…Orbinski reminds us of exactly what our victory in the C old War wrought.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“With vivid personal anecdote, Orbinski chronicles the struggle around humanitarian intervention in one hotspot after another across the planet. In a narrative of grace and power, he displays the intense components of his remarkable life: integrity, compassion and principle. He is undaunted in the face of the worst the world has to offer. He is determined to salve the wounds of humankind. He is a truly committed man, mind and soul throbbing with incandescent decency.” — Stephen Lewis, Former UN Special Envoy
“James Orbinski has lived for years in the middle of the worst that humans can be, and somehow emerged with both his compassion and his desire to understand us intact. He is a marvellous storyteller, and the stories he has to tell are some of the most powerful I have ever read.” — Stephanie Nolen, author of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa
“In this complex era of massive abuses to human rights by governments in too many countries, it is suprising to read such a poignant book that describes, without fanfare, the constant ethical, moral, and even legal dilemmas that those in the field must confront hundreds of times a day. Clarity, compassion and commitment are presented in spades in this book about those who are fighting the lack of political will that too often fails to prevent man's inhumanity to man.” — L.Gen. Roméo Dallaire, author of Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
"An essential text for our dire times. Orbinski plunges into the heartbreak, the maelstrom, the moral dilemmas of the genocide territories of the world — Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan — and finds there enough courage and redemption for us all to feel that there is hope for our sad humanity." — Ariel Dorfman“A doctor who has witnessed the worst forms of inhumanity in hot spots around the globe takes an unflinching look at the political and economic forces that provoke human suffering and offers a moving meditation on the nature of humanitarianism.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A powerful synthesis of analysis and activism.”—Booklist