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MSF (Medicins sans frontieres/Doctors without Borders) are the "smoke jumpers" among international aid organizations. While others are often stymied or delayed by politics and inertia, MSF moves without hesitation. MSFers provide food and clean water, dig latrines, set up first-aid stations and field hospitals, and treat all-comers according to need. Some have died because they made the decision to be the last to remain in situations deemed too dangerous by others. The risks they take are moral and ethical as well as mortal: Does it really do any good to save a child from murder one day when it will likely starve in the weeks ahead? Elliott Leyton and Greg Locke saw first-hand how the giving of aid is fraught with peril when they went to Rwanda in the fall of 1996. There they found themselves plunged into the midst of a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Hundreds of thousands of people were on the move; armed militias and hostile armies lurked in the background; mass starvation, plague, and an eruption into civil or criminal violence were palpable possibilities. The two Canadians, one an internationally recognized expert on the psychology of killing frequently consulted by the FBI, the other an experienced photojournalist, had a rare opportunity to observe MSF in action at a time when the stress was enormous and its resources were stretched to the limit. They watched and listened, to the perpetrators of violence and their victims, to the survivors and those who gave them assistance, and above all, to the people of MSF in all their flawed, passionate, articulate variety.
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Leyton, Elliott;Locke, Greg
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