South Africans who were moved by Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert’s harrowing account of the humanitarian situation in Gaza will have an opportunity to hear him first-hand when he visits the country next week. Dr Gilbert, who was based at Al-Shifa hospital over the past month, made global headlines when he penned an open letter to world leaders to stop the Israeli military bombardment in Gaza. The humanitarian activist will be in South Africa from the 25th – 30th August, as a guest of Channel Islam International (CII) and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
“There are very few people in the world that has the opportunity to serve others as he has in recent weeks. He is an exceptional human being. We are indebted to him for taking out the time from his hectic schedule in Norway to come speak to South Africans,” said CII Projects coordinator Azhar Vadi.
Dr Gilbert serves as the professor of medicine at the University of North Norway. He has experienced two Israeli military attacks on Gaza: Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 and Operation Pillar of Cloud in 2012. During both visits, he lent his expertise to Al Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest medical hospital, assisting the throngs of civilian casualties coming through its doors. Following his return from Al Shifa in 2009, he documented his experiences in a journal called Eyes in Gaza, with his colleague Eric Fosse, professor of medicine at the University of Oslo.
Dr Gilbert will be the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by CII Projects to raise funds for its Gaza Ambulance Drive. The organization hopes to purchase ten ambulances, which can transport emergency casualties to hospitals in Gaza. CII has partnered with the Sawaed Association for Relief and Development (SARD), a humanitarian organization based in the Gaza Strip, accredited by the Palestinian Interior Ministry.
Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, due to a lack of food, clean water, power and medical supplies. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the amount of casualties and the severity of the injuries. A total of 2 016 people have been killed and another 10 196 wounded in the latest military incursion, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Among the dead are 541 children, 250 women and 95 elderly men.
“We will raise the funds and have asked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to purchase the ambulances in Egypt. When the [Rafah] border opens, the ambulances will be passed through,” Vadi explained.
With a back to back working schedule in Norway, Dr Gilbert will only visit South Africa for five days, but will travel to the three major cities. Dr Gilbert will arrive on Tuesday 26th August and address a public meeting at the University of Johannesburg. On Wednesday 27th August, he travels to Durban for a talk at the University of KwaZulu natal, before attending a function hosted by the Islamic Medical Association (IMA). Dr Gilbert will visit Cape Town on Thursday 28th August and details of this leg of the tour will be confirmed later. His busy schedule ends in Johannesburg on Friday 29th August, with the fundraising event.
Tickets for the fundraising dinner are available through the CII Projects office at 53 Crownwood Road, Ormonde, Johannesburg or via telephone on 011 494 7000.
Other ticket points:
Lenasia – Azhar Vadi – 072 197 8610
CII Stores Trade Route Mall – 011 852 0097
Roshnee – Purple Bandage – 072 885 2514
Benoni – BMCO – 084 421 6675
Laudium/Pretoria – Aisha Akoob – 012 370 3158 / 083 326 5425
Marlboro/Sandton – Hafez Fareed – 083 564 7929. VOC