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Palestine - the hinge of our humanity? The Middle East in Flames
3-08-06 Totnes Civic Hall

Why am I here and not making something good in my workshop?

1. Taught to be truthful, a lesson which obviously passed over most of the political class. Being truthful also means speaking out.

2. I cannot stand seeing underdogs kicked around

3. As an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon all my efforts, and those of the good people with me, were devoted to healing tissue and in relieving pain – not in blasting bodies apart.

4. The bombing of the Afghan people by B52s from 32,000ft in the Autumn of 2001 galvanised me; I have not rested since.

5. My central motivation is the love of the child. We have two happy grand-daughters, Isabel and Nel. I look into their beautiful eyes and see the two billion other children on our planet. They are all equally precious; not one should be harmed.

I approach my analysis of this both as a doctor and an orthopaedic surgeon. I am helped in having been trained at St Mary’s with young people from other countries and having had many young doctors helping me in the beleaguered NHS who came here to train from all parts of the world including the Middle East and Afghanistan. I know the reality of death and torn bodies from dealing at first hand with the casualties of the dominant motor vehicle. My training and mentality help me get to the nub of a problem. Even-handedness drives me to write this piece.

It may be fruitful to treat terrorism as we do a disease process: