Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Suburban Geneva, Switzerland

Further rambles in Geneva and surroundings:

It's amazing the little vignettes one happens across. Now this one ... what I wouldn't give to hear what this driver had to say when this happened!

Me? I would have just looked at my passengers and said, "See? I told you this thing drives like it's on rails!!!"
The Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum is one of those places we'd thought would be interesting to visit, so we made a point of visiting.

The idea for the Red Cross came from Henry Dunant, a Genevois businessman who witnessed the Battle of Solferino (1859) while on a business trip. He was so horrified by the aftermath of the battle, the suffering of the wounded, and the near-total lack of medical care that he abandoned his trip and spent several days helping care for the wounded. Later, he wrote and self-published A Memory of Solferino, sending it to every monarch, politician, and thought-leader he thought might pay attention.

In addition to penning a vivid description of his experiences in Solferino in 1859, he explicitly advocated the formation of national voluntary relief organizations to help nurse wounded soldiers in the case of war. In addition, he called for the development of international treaties to guarantee the neutrality and protection of those wounded on the battlefield as well as medics and field hospitals.

The further history is too long to repeat here, but it is truly inspiring. (Click the text above for more.) In my opinion, Henry Dunant's is a name we should all know, but don't. Through tireless advocacy, planning, publishing, and coordinating, he changed the world's attitude toward warfare and caring for the war-wounded. Even the Geneva Conventions on warfare trace back to his advocacy.
The Red Cross/Red Crescent now deals with much more than the war-wounded. The above sculpture grouping in the museum entryway "denounces the violation of human rights and appeals for tolerance" (according to its plaque). Disaster relief, refugee issues, displaced and missing persons, prisoners of war, human rights abuses all fall within the RC/RC movement's domain.

And on to more homely matters -- here are a few shots from "our" Geneva suburb, the towns of Bernex and Confignon. Grocery shopping takes place at the local Coop. (Note: Parking is not this easy to find during open hours.)
Just down the road, one of the local churches.
We passed this graffito on the back of a road sign each time we drove "home" to Bernex/Confignon. Seen from one perspective, there's truth to the tag...
... but we prefer to think of the town as quiet and peaceful.

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