I did not know the Geneva Convention actually exists on paper, with seals and signatures. Well, it does, and it is displayed at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva.
I did not really ever think of what happens to families after the war. What happened to the children who got involuntarily separated from their parents in Rwanda during the genocide, or what happens to families when new borders are drawn between homes of relatives. I did not know about all the people working resiliently to restore family links.I did not really know how the Red Cross and UN operate when visiting prisons, prisoner camps, and other conflict areas where humanity is at risk. I had no idea what a prison visit report could look like – or the lengthy discussions that took place during World War II about whether or not to react. And I did not know the International Committee of the Red Cross recently considered its inability to act as a moral failure.
I come from a country which is neutral and safe – for now. It has not always been, and it has not yet reached 100 years of independence, but safety is all my generation knows. We call our cozy country the “bird’s nest.” Even if I travel much I have never ended up in serious conflict areas. Even if I have worked with charity I have never worked with people in conflict or post-conflict zones.
I do not know much of the protective and humanitarian actions that happen behind the curtains of the 10 o’clock news. But after visiting the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum I know a little bit more – and I am deeply touched. (Geneva, Switzerland; January 2016)