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The one with Gino Strada, or rather with his thought, is one of those meetings that you do by chance, while you are all caught up with what you are doing and what happens around you, trying to understand something about the moment you and the world you are living in. 

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy doing something else, said John Lennon.

He grew up in a place where “he made politics for force”, in the post-war Italian where as the smell of smoke and gunpowder were thinning out in the air you could breathe a vague hint of the future, to the boys of that time that seems so far away one morning must have appeared something that shared life and hope.

A bit like the Egyptians with the sun, the marmots with the spring and the babies with the mothers.

Things like that happen at some point.

She studies medicine, where she meets what will become the love of her life and that will accompany her for her wandering around the world, one of those late teenage stories born among the school desks that sometimes you do not give too much weight, and then find out it’s from there that everything is back on track.

It’s during a class that he falls in love with surgery, inspired by a professor who can diagnose “just by looking at your face, asking the right questions.” without necessarily having to prescribe costly or invasive long examinations.

Reading, listening, really caring about the patient, like trying to be a clinician.

Things like that.

Because, although it may seem that we are no longer used to it, medicine in all its forms is first of all a relationship that takes place at a given moment and in a specific place between a human being and another. 

Needless to say, between a lecture and an exam he engages in the political life of the assembly, he writes articles on “Medicine at the service of the popular masses” which is not a topic, but the newspaper distributed along with hundreds of leaflets for the classrooms and corridors of the university: every Saturday a demonstration in the square, a meeting a rebellion a struggle, things that have very little to do with merit scrolls and praise, nor with scholarships titles and kisses (academics!).

In short, neither the Argentina of the coups nor Vietnam were too far away, all for the rights of all that at the time there was still no talk of globalization but it seems clear to me that the so-called borders did not matter to any of them.

The rights are real if they belong to everyone, otherwise they are privileges of a few.

He leaves for America, follows cardiac surgery, fascinated as he is by new transplant techniques, they offer him secure contract and brilliant career in one of the most renowned (and wealthy) hospitals in the USA.

He thinks about it, of course.

Think of Italy, its affections, and another of its teachers:

Curator of the series “Medicine and power” Prof. Maccacaro rejected the image of the doctor focused on the biology of the body without taking into account the patient’s living environment, and fought to get medicine out of universities so that it could radically change society, in the only possible way, by working among people.

What’s the point of practicing medicine in a country where before you ask yourself what you did, they ask you for a credit card?

He returns to Italy and founds Emergency, which in the most synthetic expression I can find can be defined as an idea of care, for everyone.

It’s been exactly 30 years, it was January of ’94 and a few days ago on the way home I read an inscription on the wall of the university: “to become a hero you have to die young, if you live longer you end up becoming the bad guy”

I don’t know, he reminded me a little ‘that “you are born communists and you die Christian Democrats” to which Gino must have never believed, demonstrating with his story as being teenagers, wanting to change things that do not go, fight, rebel, hope and invest in the humanity of others thus realizing even their own is not at all a matter of history.

Neither does the bourgeoisie.

What I have tried to tell perhaps badly in this article is part of his story, of his fight against war, “disease from which the world must and can heal”, he who did not think about what medicine had to offer him, he who firmly rejected anyone who wanted to frame it, set it up, pull it by the jacket:

I’m not a pacifist, I’m against war, he said.

There are dreams capable of changing reality, revolutions capable of nesting and growing in the most unexpected and hidden places.

Again, to the new, it takes time and confirmation.

The title is that of his latest book, one of those readings that make you feel the thrust to be part of the world, not just a spectator, written version for younger boys of the most famous One person at a time.

A way of living and thinking.

Little by little, the others.

Marco Randisi


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Credits by: Hassan Ouajbir