“My time in Iraq showed me the truth of my beliefs. I believe in mankind — not gods, not devils, not angels and not spirits. I saw man’s bravery from both soldier and civilian, and I saw horror and destruction from them, too. I saw hate and loathing from all sides, and I saw caring for children, rebuilding of hospitals and schools, and feeding the poor. Not by a government but by individuals, by one man helping another man. [emphasis added]
As a medic, I went to local clinics to inspect conditions and help when I could. I delivered supplies to schools and relief centers, and Iraqis who knew us would bring us tea and cigarettes. Language was the only barrier, but a friendly smile bulldozed that wall…
For all the death and destruction reported in the news, there are thousands of stories of kindness and caring that no one ever knows.
I believe that by striving for a world that accepts its oneness, we can transform wars, intolerance, religious persecution and political extremism into memory and maybe even folklore.”
From the essay “Untold Stories of Kindness” by Sgt. Ernesto Haibi, an army medic who served in Iraq. The essay appears in This I Believe II (2008).
For further reading: This I Believe II: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (2008)