Human history is blighted by periods of disastrous intolerance towards each other, borne out of fear and misunderstanding, resulting in anger, violence and war. Although these intolerances frequently simmer under the skin of our societies, they are often bought to boiling point by powerful rhetoric by those wishing to gain more by dividing people. In current times, these feelings have again been brought to the surface, slowly being fuelled by leaders speaking and tweeting to stoke our insecurities. Animosity currently towards one another is more palpable than I remember, a growing number of the world’s population seeking to be separate from each other, wishing to build walls and recreate borders that were once torn down. The media, too, influences even those of us who do not wish to be influenced by these movements, by altering narratives, by giving misleading information, by giving us doubt when there should be no doubt.
It was then a strange moment when a visiting surgical team from North Korea organised a visit to our humble surgical centre in Phnom Penh. Information about North Korea, to our eyes and ears, has been limited by an embargo of knowledge, created by years of divisive politics and a Western media representation that is not likely to be wholesomely accurate.
Our roles, as healthcare professionals is to share, to teach, to exchange knowledge and learn from each other’s experience, for the betterment of our patients. Within these past two weeks, I shared the simple knowledge I had, with the best of my ability, my learnings of orthopaedic surgery.
I choose love. Love follows love follows love.
With love always,