~Meaw & More~


Reactive blogger (~and more~)

Doctor’s Perspective and Post Cold War Warfare

I rarely posted about book review as I am not even capable enough of publishing or aired my view correctly, being in several advance literature reading and review writing courses for non-literature major.

In this book by Michael Ondaatje, I lately reread again, blending context of the story to the context of what I read and reexperience of here and there, in the location of uncertainty as I am both outsider to here, being a somewhere mid-west in thailand and there as a tourist in Sri Lanka.

What capture me this time is not Anil, a forensic anthropologist that came for an assignment from Geneve to prove that the government participated, either by conducting, misconductivity or negligence, in massive murder and disapperance that leave fresh woundsand unhealed scars in personal and natonal memory. I was more interested in Gamini, a doctor who treated insurgences, government officers, military officers and civilans alike, Ondaatje described:

The doctors were coping with injuries from all political sides and there was one operating table. […] The most frequently seen problems were snakebites, rabies caused by fox or ongoose. kidney failure, encephalitis, diabetes, tuberculosis and the was. (Anil’s Ghost: 243)

Despite its passionately generalized and manufactured the extreme south (i.e. north-south) in conflict to fit readers’ consumption to easily understand and give shared compassion how bad limited low intensity welfare hurt people and poor nation (not to mention international arms trade, where money do not go into ‘the poor’s pocket’ whether it is balck, gray or white), the novel, like doctors, did not specify or simplified that government is oppressive or freedom fighters romanticized. There are reasons for people who contended to be bystanders and did not act to prevent anything bad from happening, there are people to burn for a cause. There are freedom fighters and government sympathizers, both actual and perceived. Ondaatje argued wasn’t clear if “Geneva” will do anything when they, those people from the West, come in, took note and filmed, wrote report and go home, when informants will have to stay. Anil was too exotic.

While most people now addressing the unforseen causes, various and rather universal causes which one of them cannot be more truth than the other, yet many try to find such formulae to the conflicts, the other are addressing deadly consequences from all sides. It is useless to ask why or who did it on operation tables. All identities set aside, for now. I am wondering if docotr would collect data segregated by religion in their records.

One thing I am sure, they will not claim who is perpetrators like newspaper guess-who analysis, finger pointing assumption of miltary press conference and information divulge to human rights defenders. We still need to know, but it is ok if we do not, for now.


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