About the author
Mads Gilbert is the Medical Director of the Clinic of Emergency Medicine at the University Hospital of North Norway and a professor at the University of Tromso (UiT), the Arctic University of Norway. In addition to his work in Norway, since the 1980s he has been heavily involved in medical solidarity work around the world, carrying out training programmes and helping war wounded patients in Burma, Angola, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Lebanon, among other places. Over the last fifteen years, his medical solidarity work has been mostly in Gaza, occupied Palestine. Gilbert has also been an active member of the Red Party (Rodt) and has served several terms as a councillor in the county of Troms. He has published a number of textbooks, and his book Eyes in Gaza, written together with Dr Erik Fosse, was translated into English in 2010. Gilbert was appointed a Commander of the Order of St Olav in 2013, in recognition of his international work and his services to emergency medicine in Norway.
Dr. Gilbert’s eloquent and straight-forward account should be read by the voting citizens of all the countries empowering the occupation and siege of Gaza—and by extension, empowering the much-different occupation and siege of the rest of Palestine. He states up-front that he supports no political party, but refuses to pretend that as a doctor he must be aloof from reality. As a doctor, rather, he must not only help those already suffering, but work to prevent new suffering. “The medical profession,” he writes, “cannot and should not be detached from society; it should be a living force, a tool for living good lives and for making changes that serve justice.”
The book is his account of what he witnessed during the so-called “Protective Edge” assault against Gaza in the summer of 2014. Unlike the typical Western news reports in which more than two thousand dead is glossed over as a four digit number devoid of meaning or dismissed as the price of Israeli “defense”, Dr. Gilbert shows us the people themselves. And while he has become iconic of a foreign doctor assisting the little war-torn coastal strip, he is quick to clarify that Gazans themselves are not short of medical expertise (if precariously short of medical supplies). His presence means assistance to his Gazan colleagues during the onslaught, and it means solidarity.
Dr. Gilbert speaks plainly and does not lecture. He merely brings you past the Erez or Rafah Crossings and shows you what our media didn’t. Max Blumenthal’s Foreword gives a useful and concise background.