“Many Hands Make Light Work”

first_img Interesting note about Rio Negro Air Base I saw the spirit of Colombia in that awakening. It was a festival morning, with radiant sun and spring breezes; a Saturday in Medellín, Antioquia. Outside, floats and horses were being decorated; inside, in the intensive-care unit in Pablo Tobón Uribe Hospital, a career National Army Soldier was lying on a bed. His face was lifeless, the left side destroyed, the eye covered by a bandage, his ear, his cheekbone, and his jaw repaired by several sutures. Beneath the sheets, the glimpse of fragile, almost terminal breathing. The night before, while I piloted a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that belonged to the 5th Combat Air Command (Rionegro, Antioquia), my crew received an alert for an airborne medical evacuation fora soldier wounded in a minefield during combat against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) narco-terrorist organization. In the jungle and amid crossfire, he was aided by one of his comrades, who tore his uniform to make a tourniquet to hold the profuse bleeding. His wounds were atrocious and expelled a nauseating smell, contaminated with human waste contained in the explosive charge. His left foot hung by the tendons, and the edges of the bones had come through the skin. It was nine in the morning when I arrived at the Tobón hospital reception desk, where a nurse informed me that the surgery was over and that the Soldier was recovering in intensive care. I took the elevator and recalled the first hours of that day, when the evacuation of that young man began. At three in the morning, I was piloting the Black Hawk on a steep descent amid the peaks of the Ayapel mountain range. I was flying with night-vision goggles, together with an AH-60 Harpy helicopter that was firing its machine guns to repel the curtain of anti-aircraft fire that the enemy had prepared for us. When I reached the treetops, we began the final approach. The rotor wake stirred up dirt and twigs that formed a whirlwind of lights and shadows from which four soldiers emerged with the stretcher. Our combat nurse and the flight technicians received the patient and positioned him in the cargo bay. As soon as we left that clearing and shut the doors, the smell of his wounds inundated the aircraft. I turned my head to evaluate the situation, and found myself with the figure of a warrior worn down by barbarism, a person with an emaciated face; his clothes were soaked with sweat, blood, and mud. The elevator reached the intensive-care floor, the doors opened, and I was surprised to see a corpse-like figure covered with pink sheets crossing the hallway. I made the sign of the cross without wanting to look too closely, but it was inevitable. The sheets revealed the outline of a cold, somber figure that seemed forgotten, like just another object on that floor. What if it was the soldier? That vision hit me like a stab in the heart. I couldn’t believe that our efforts would have ended like that; I couldn’t accept that idea as true. The fear made me act strangely, and I reached out to uncover the corpse’s face. “Are you a relative?” asked a nurse, who roused me abruptly from my thoughts. “No, no … I’m looking for a soldier we brought in this morning; he was wounded by an anti-personnel mine.” “He’ll wake up soon,” she responded as she appointed to a room at the end of the ward. She then had covered the corpse’s face with indifference and headed off with it; disappearing at the end of the hallway. A doctor heard that conversation. “Are you a relative of the soldier?” he asked. “No, I’m the pilot of the crew that evacuated him early this morning. I came to see him because I wanted to meet him.” “Thank you for what all of you are doing,” said the doctor. “We get soldiers like that almost every day. This man came in half-dead; you brought him in time. Look, he’ll wake up soon. He’s in very serious condition; he’s lost a lot of blood, and we’re trying to control a severe infection caused by the contamination of his wounds. His prognosis is uncertain. We amputated his left foot, and we still don’t know whether he’ll lose the eye. He hasn’t woken up; if he does, don’t give him the news let me talk to him first.” While we were flying, the combat nurse opened the medical kit and shook a flask, injected the contents into the patient’s arm, removed the dirty bandages and examined the wounds, took the patient’s pulse, and asked how long it would take to get to Medellín. I told him 50 minutes. In the distance, behind the mountains, the lights of the city were visible; it was 3:40 a.m. The helicopter’s motors were going at full throttle, almost at the point of blowing out. The city was preparing to celebrate the 2005 Flower Festival. What a paradox, I thought, some celebrating and others fighting steadfastly, whether wounded or unwillingly dealing out wounds in order to survive! The nurse was focused on changing bandages, injecting medicine, and cleaning wounds. I noticed that he murmured a prayer. As I entered the room, I found the soldier unconscious and hooked up to several monitors that were controlling his vital signs. The atmosphere in the room was so thick that I felt that it was weighing on my shoulders. A glacial silence reigned, as in a tomb. His face appeared to be that of a humble fisherman. His wounds were now clean, and his stump, wrapped in bandages, stood out amid the sheets. One of his fingers moved abruptly, and a monitor began to beep. At that instant, he opened his left hand, and suddenly, with a trembling and clumsy movement, he raised his right arm to pull out the tubes that were keeping him alive. The doctor rushed forward and instructed me to help him. A nurse ran in. His energy gradually weakened, until he became calm. His gaze moved around the room. A doctor, a nurse, a strange man, monitors, needles, and bandages surrounded him, and he quickly understood the situation. His right eye met the doctor’s gaze, and the latter, with a sorrowful air, grasped his shoulder in order to speak to him. “Soldier, thank you! Thank you for what you’ve done for Colombia. Yesterday, you stumbled into a minefield and suffered serious wounds. One of your feet was badly hurt, and we couldn’t save it.” The soldier closed his eyes and pressed his lips together. A tear slid down his cheek. There was a silence that transfixed the walls and invaded the entire floor. “Do you want me to call anyone and tell them that you’re here?” I asked. “My commander. Tell him that my morale is high and I still have fight in me. That they should expect me there, that… I’ll walk again. Right, doctor?” The doctor agreed. “And my comrades? How are they?” “They’re well,” I responded. There was a distant happiness in his eyes. “Long live my National Army! We’re going to win, right? That’s my Army,” he said, and fell into uncontrollable weeping. I felt as if something had broken within my soul. “And your mom, do you want me to call her?” I insisted. “No, not her… I’ll talk to her later. I don’t want to worry her.” “Do you need me to bring you anything? Food, clothes…?” “Yes, get me a Bible, please; I need to talk to God.” We remained silent a long while. I had seen the spirit of Colombia in that ravaged face, in that weakened body of great spiritual strength. The courage of this soldier was not false; it was virtuous. A man removed from hypocrisy. The Colombian Air Force had saved the spirit of a valiant man, a symbol of the heroism of all Colombian soldiers. That day, I felt very proud to wear the wings of a Military pilot. I had seen how the commitment of our Air Force made us leaders in adversity and an example for all our fellow countrymen. On the way to Rionegro, to the air base where I lived, I felt as if I had not spoken a single word in my entire life. I felt that I was unable to speak about what was most important, about the object of my deepest thoughts. I perked up my ears, I suppressed the beating of my heart, so as not to miss a single detail of that encounter; my memory needed to preserve this experience, because I would need to remember it each time my spirits or those of a comrade flagged. *A phrase from Homer, the name given to the Greek poet who was the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. By Dialogo April 19, 2012last_img read more

‘The Jakarta Post’ wins Tasrif Award for collaborative investigations

first_imgOne of the judges for the Tasrif Award, Mujtaba Hamdi from the Wahid Foundation said during the online award ceremony that the Tasrif Award was given to stories that fulfilled the public’s right to information, that utilized the press’ function for social accountability and that revealed hidden injustices.“I think this year is the year of collaboration,” Mujtaba said during the virtual awards ceremony on Friday.Another judge was AJI member Bambang Muryanto, who is also a contributing journalist for The Jakarta Post in Yogyakarta. As a judge he said he had avoided a potential conflict of interest by withholding his opinion on the two reports. He said the two other judges had awarded the collaborative projects the prize.Bambang is part of the #NamaBaikKampus collaboration.As Tirto founder Atmaji Sapto Anggoro accepted the award during the virtual ceremony, he thanked all the media organizations that had been involved in the two projects.”This award is a tribute to press freedom, where the press must try to be skeptical and dig up information based on facts, data and reality so that we can publish it. This is the power of collaboration,” said Sapto.Read also: ‘The Jakarta Post’ wins twice at Indonesia Print Media AwardsAnglea Flassy, a reporter for Jubi, said collaboration among news organizations had made journalism more effective, noting that the report on the unrest in Wamena had managed to confirm dozens of casualties.Past winners of the Tasrif Award include filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer and “Anonymous”, who made the documentary The Act of Killing (2015); Forum LGBTIQ and International People’s Tribunal 65 (IPT 65) (2016); and Baiq Nuril, a victim of alleged sexual harassment who was put on trial for reporting the harassment (2019).On Friday, the AJI also gave the Udin Award to Tempo. The award honors an individual or group of journalists who have fallen victim to violence while doing their work.The organization awarded this year’s SK Trimurti Award to Gadria Rosdiana Djukana, the editor-in-chief of East Nusa Tenggara-based daily publication KURSOR. The award is given to a female journalist for her professional achievements.Two student media organizations – Arena from Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta and Progress from the University of Indraprasta PGRI in Jakarta – were awarded the AJI’s 2020 Student Press Award.Topics : Two collaborations between The Jakarta Post and other media organizations have won the 2020 Tasrif Award, granted by the Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI).The first project, #NamaBaikKampus (Campus Reputation) was a collaboration between the Post, Tirto.id, VICE Indonesia and BBC Indonesia, which later withdrew from the collaboration.The project uncovered sexual abuse allegations in higher educational institutions throughout Indonesia, based on the testimonies of 174 sexual abuse survivors from 79 state, private and religious universities. Read also: Sexual abuse on campus: 174 survivors across Indonesia speak upThe Post also won for a joint investigation of an episode of deadly unrest in Wamena, Papua, that occurred on Sept. 23, 2019. The collaboration involved Tirto and Jayapura-based publication Jubi.The report found that the government had not publicly revealed that at least eight native Papuans had died of gunshot wounds inflicted by people whom locals referred to as “security officers”.Wamena investigation: What the government is not telling us #jakpost https://t.co/UgW7jtHeTc pic.twitter.com/CugssFMAIs— The Jakarta Post (@jakpost) November 26, 2019The AJI established the Tasrif Award to commemorate renowned journalist Suardi Tasrif, who was named the father of Indonesia’s journalistic code of ethics for having established the Indonesian Journalist Union’s (PWI) code of ethics in 1954.last_img read more

Football News After Chhetri’s plea, tickets for India game sold out

first_imgMumbai: In the wake of Sunil Chhetri’s impassioned plea, fans are set to throng the Mumbai Football Arena here on Monday, as tickets for India’s Intercontinental Cup game against Kenya were sold out.On Saturday, India skipper Chhetri had posted an emotional video, urging fans to come and support the team for what will also be his 100th international match.”Yes, the tickets have been sold out for tonight’s game,” an official told PTI.Mumbai District Football Association president Aaditya Thackeray tweeted, “I’m glad that after @chetrisunil11’s heartfelt appeal, so many of us have responded and got the seats to #BacktheBlue. This is only the beginning, let’s make sure each game that @IndianFootball plays is houseful! They pour their heart out for us, least we can do is be there!!”Chhetri made the emotional appeal a day after slamming a hat-trick in India’s 5-0 demolition of Chinese Taipei in the tournament opener, and he found instant support from the country’s top cricketers, including current captain Virat Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.Chhetri is the country’s leading scorer with 59 goals from 99 international caps, placing him third in the world’s leading scorer’s list.”All the fans, who came out in Mumbai to support us… thank you. It means the world to us,” the 33-year-old had said in a video posted on Twitter.”But, I’m making this video not for you guys, I’m going to speak, appeal and request all of you, who did not come. To everyone, who is not a football fan… please come and watch us. For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Other Sports Praggnanandhaa Wins Gold In World Youth Chess Championships, India End With Record Seven Medals

first_imgMumbai: Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa emerged as unconquered king in the World Youth Chess Championship in Mumbai, claiming the gold in the Under-18 Open category on Saturday. The 14-year-old Grand Master from Chennai settled for a cautious draw in the 11th and final round against ValentinBuckels (Germany) to top the charts with nine points. He, however, will also have to thank compatriot, International Master Arjun Kalyan for achieving a crucial draw against top seeded Shant Sargsyan (Armenia). Praggnanandhaa would have been under pressure if Grand Master Shant had won. But Shant could not unravel a determined Arjun, allowing Praggnanandhaa to annex the title.  The Championship ended on a high note for India, with six other medals, including three silver, coming their way. Only the Under-16 Girls category proved tough for India, although B M Akshaya gave a good account of herself. Akshaya lost the medal to Anousha Mahdian, sufferingan unexpected defeat to her in the final round. But Indian girls in the Under-14 segment compensated for it, with Divya Deshmukh and Rakshitta Ravi winning two medals. Top seed Womens International Master Divya, who seemed to be out of contention midway through the event, pulled off a well thought-out victory in the last round to clinch silver. Rakshitta too beat overnight leader Bat-Erdene Mungunzul on the top board to earn the bronze. Kazakhstan’s Meruert Kamalidenova, however, was the star of this category, registering five straight wins to clinch the gold. Fide Master L R Srihari (Under-14 Open) and Vantika Agrawal (Under-16 Girls) collected other two silver medals for India, playing out draws in their respective matches. Vantika had an outside chance of pocketing the gold, especially after top seed Polina Shuvalova (8.5) settled for a draw.Also Read | Earlier Padma Shri snub motivated me to do better: Harika Dronavalli, India chess grandmasterVantika, with eight points, however, couldn’t beat Alexandra Obolentseva of Russia, and finished half a point behind Shuvalova. Srihari (8), who was in contention for the gold at the start of the penultimate day, endured draws in the last two rounds to slip to the second position. S Maralakshikari won the bronze, after beating the surprise package of the championship, R Abinandhan. CM Aronyak Ghosh (8) claimed the other bronze for the country in the Under-16 Open category after drawing withIran’s Arash Daghli. He will, however, look back at the WYCC as a missed opportunity, after accepting a quick draw in the penultimate round. Winners: U18 Open: Praggnanandhaa R (IND) 9.0; Shant Sargsyan (ARM) 8.5; Artur Davtyan (ARM) 8.0  U18 Girls: Polina Shuvalova (RUS) 8.5; Vantika Agrawal (IND) 8.0; Alexandra Obolentseva (RUS) 7.5 U16 Open: Rudik Makarian (RUS) 8.5; Stefan Pogosyan (RUS) 8.0; Aronyak Ghosh (IND) 8.0  U16 Girls: Leya Garifullina (RUS) 8.5; Nurgali Nazerke (KAZ) 8.5; Anousha Mahdian (IRI) 8.0 U14 Open: Aydin Suleymanli (AZE) 9.0; Srihari L R (IND) 8.0; Sreeshwan Maralakshikari (IND) 8.0 U14 Girls: Meruert Kamalidenova (KAZ) 8.5; Divya Deshmukh (IND) 8.0; Rakshitta Ravi (IND) 8.0. For all the Latest Sports News News, Other Sports News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more