For over thirty years, Dr. Mads Gilbert has worked in conflict zones including volunteering in hospitals under siege in West Beirut, Lebanon during the 80s and Gaza for the last two decades. His perspective as a doctor and activist in such a conflicted time and area makes him the ideal person for our upcoming speaking events in Anaheim, California and Plano, Texas. Dr. Mads sat down with us to speak about his experiences abroad as well as his upcoming talks with Kinder.
The 1982 bombing and siege of Lebanon. The brutality and oppression coupled with the total lack of mercy. Occupation is a type of oppression and everything I witnessed in Lebanon, in Beirut in 1982 is taking place in Gaza.
I have been working ever since for NGOs as solidarity medicine. I am a voice for the voiceless.
Desmond Tutu said to be silent is to be neutral. I stand with the Palestinian people although I am neutral. I would treat an occupying general the same as a Palestinian woman. I choose to side with the occupied, not the occupier. My choice is an easy one.
How can the average person make a positive impact on the people of Gaza?
The most violent force in society today is ignorance. The most important contribution a person can make is to get the facts and be informed. Travel to Palestine. Truth is the best means of discovery. Being organized, part of a group, through your church, students groups. Be an activist. Don’t give up. Every voice counts. Read reliable resources, talk to Palestinians. Become a true power of change.
Ghandi said, ““When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
What do you do to stay motivated in the face of such harrowing work?
Travel as often as I can to Palestine. Witnessing their ‘sumud’ and what it means to be a true human being. They carry their own dignity on their shoulders.
What experience or moment has impacted you most about your work in Gaza?
There are numerous stories. Every meeting with a patient, a medical worker, a paramedic, a medical student. Deeply touching moments of honesty and amazing what they are sacrificing in their lives.
What are you hoping that people gain or learn from your upcoming talks with Kinder USA?
I hope they will gain more about the realities on the ground in Gaza. An understanding of the Palestinian reality of the siege and occupation. I hope they will understand the need for active solidarity. We carry the keys for making a change in their lives, their justice. Solidarity.
During these times what words of encouragement do you have for the people of Gaza or anyone else who may feel oppressed?
We stand behind you in difficult times. We respect your activism and put a lot of trust in the US people and know change will come. We put trust towards our march to solidarity. Political activism achieves our goals to see Palestinian people liberated.