CMF on Facebook CMF on Twitter CMF on YouTube RSS Get in Touch with CMF
menu resources

Medics on the frontline

summer 2018

From triple helix - summer 2018 - Medics on the frontline

PDF version
(Right click and choose 'save as...' to download a printable version of this article)

Medics are increasingly being targeted in war

Events in the Middle East over the last few years have challenged the long-held belief that medical services are neutrals and not to be attacked by either side. In Syria, as the civil war has headed towards its climax, bombing of hospitals has become alarmingly frequent. (1) In Yemen, a nation facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today according to the UN, (2) ports and facilities being used to get essential aid, food and medical supplies to the most vulnerable have been selectively targeted by forces trying to contain the insurgency.(3) In a more individual context, the killing of a Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najar in Gaza as she sought to help the injured has generated much anger around the world. (4)

Christian medics, nurses and other health professionals are often working in unstable countries, and facing this sort of danger is nothing new. Those working in mission hospitals in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the start of the civil war in the 90s are all too aware of how often Christian hospitals and health workers were brutally targeted by rebel forces. However, the latest violence has been increasingly at the hands of government forces, some of them from supposedly democratic, westernised nations.

The reality is that in war, especially one where a nation or a people perceive a real, existential threat, norms, conventions and niceties often get forgotten. We see human sinfulness at its most raw, particularly the willingness to sacrifice even deeply held values for the sake of security. A Christlike response in these situations is to continue to serve selflessly and to bear witness to the truth.

1. Syria conflict: Deadly strike on Save the Children maternity hospital. BBC News, 26 July 2016.

2. Cocker M, Schmitt E. Humanitarian Crisis Worsens in Yemen After Attack on Port. New York Times, 13 June 2018.

3. Leiberman A, Chadwick V. Battle for Hodeida puts local aid workers in the crosshairs. Devex, 14 June 2018.

4. Unarmed Palestinian nurse shot dead by Israeli forces. 7 June 2018.

Article written by Steve Fouch

More from triple helix: summer 2018

  • Legalising assisted suicide
  • Medics on the frontline
  • Changing gender
  • Abortion momentum triggered by Irish vote
  • NHS at 70
  • NHS 70 years old
  • standing in the gap
  • When doctor turns patient
  • Lessons from the refugee crisis
  • When a Christian voice can be heard
  • Sharing our faith in Jesus
  • Reviews
  • Eutychus
  • The shining face of Moses
  • Christian Medical Fellowship:
    uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
    Contact Phone020 7234 9660
    Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
    © 2019 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
    Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
    Design: S2 Design & Advertising Ltd   
    Technical: ctrlcube