Qusai Zakarya is by all definitions an incredible human being. After surviving the 2013 chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiya, he became a tireless public opponent of the oppressive Assad regime and rallied worldwide support during a 33-day hunger strike that called attention to the illegal siege of cities across Syria.
The resilient spirit of the Syrian people is nowhere more evident than in the group of doctors and lawyers I recently spent an evening with in the Middle East. Their capacity to find joy in life, even during this horrific conflict, is remarkable.
Physicians across the world share deeply held convictions and characteristics. We believe in the value of hard work and discipline, are devoted to our patients, respect scientific rigor, and are committed to continuous learning.
As I read about the latest in a string of attacks on Syrian field hospitals and medical staff – this time a car bomb that killed 14 people and wounded 70 in a Syrian town on the Turkish border – the classic and morbid U2 song, which memorializes violence against civilian protesters in Northern Ireland, echoed in my head.
The hallmark image of V-Day is a victim of sexual violence rising from the horror and dehumanization of being targeted to the recovery and empowerment of being a survivor. As millions of people will witness the "risings" this week initiated by playwright and activist Eve Ensler and replicated in film, dance, and other events throughout the world, I want to pay tribute to the courageous experts behind the scenes who are critical to this movement.