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“A temporary sacrifice”

Solferino, 24th June 1859, three hundred thousand soldiers from three different armies clash brutally in the open field, leaving over 100,000 men on the ground between dead, wounded and missing. Just in those days of war, near the camp of battle, there was a young swiss man, Jean Henry Dunant, entrepreneur and philanthropist, come to meet Napoleon III on his business. He found himself at to witness, by a series of coincidence, the terrible context of the ongoing battles, the spectacle that came before Dunant’s eyes was a real spectacle for him emotional shock, unexpected and chilling. The scenery was aggravated by the complete non-existence of any medical support to the military, the bodies lay abandoned on the battlefield, dying, without anyone to do anything at all to help them. Dunant, recovered from the terrible vision, described it all in his fundamental text “Un Souvenir da Solferino” today translated into over 200 languages. From the horrible show was born in Dunant the idea of creating a team of trained volunteers whose work could to give fundamental support to the military cause: the Red Cross.


Today, 161 years later, in the midst of a global pandemic, history is repeats. In this terrible historical period the contribution of everyone is absolutely fundamental and, precisely for this reason, the Italian Red Cross has decided to activate the “Temporary Volunteering”, thus allowing all citizens, after an online training (and then directly in the field with highly qualified staff qualified), to be able to promptly support the activities of the association to in favour of the Italian population hard hit by this brutal virus called “Covid19” (SARS-CoV-2) which has infected almost all nations of the world. Pandemics have developed throughout the history of mankind, Hippocrates already 2400 years ago described the first symptoms of the influenza disease and the first reliable record of a pandemic dates back to 1580. The first signs of the spread of the virus in Italy took place in January 2020, when two tourists Chinese were positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Rome and meanwhile the first hotbeds began to form in the Lombardy region. In response to all this, the Italian Government has suspended all ‘non-core’ activities and declared a state of emergency, the country is paralyzed, begins the phase of lock-down.


In this terrible context, while the number of contagions and dead rises dramatically, and as the government and national media scream out loud to remain locked inside their homes, the Temporary Volunteers they go against the tide, some citizens want to go out on the street, they want to make themselves useful, temporary volunteers are ready to sacrifice for others, and for the community. Like Dunant who was shocked by the raw vision of the war and decided to offer support to the military by forming the first teams of voluntary rescuers, a century and a half later some Italian citizens decide to make themselves voluntarily available to provide help to the population hard hit by the virus. In the only town of Lucca, in just 2 months, are 1,890 health services were carried out, over 21,000 hours on duty, 1256 deliveries of medicines, 197 home delivery supermarket shopping and over 51,000 masks delivered. The work is exhausting, frantic shifts for about 8 hours with the constant fear of contracting the virus during service, social distancing during each phase of work, the constantly worn masks that furrow the face, the continuous sanitizing hands and clothes with gel and spray every time you have made a benefit. All this in order to make new urgent deliveries on time, to run out on the street and provide as many services as possible, there is no time to waste, the pandemic advances.

These are days that we will all long remember, for the deafening silence that we have surrounded daily, in the deserted streets, by the impossibility of the relationships and friendships that we’re used to, for the work from home and, unfortunately, for the daily bulletins on the number of people infected and deceased. The virus has caught us unprepared, the theme is that of the disease, of the life and death, touching and redefining everything. In the face of an enemy invisible and impalpable, which assumes the possible face of any person who we meet, of every relationship and every relationship, we suddenly feel helpless, exposed and lost. It’s a fragility that knocks out many of the interpersonal and social relationships. A suspension sine die of one’s way of to be, a suspension of one’s life.
Temporary Volunteers are students, mechanics, cooks, immigrants, bartenders, garbage collectors, airplane pilots, university professors or unemployed people who make up the new teams of volunteers who voluntarily sacrifice themselves to fight the pandemic. An army of ordinary citizens going to flank temporarily the commendable work of Red Cross professionals Italian, who, in times of difficulty, take off their robes as citizen and make themselves fully available to the community, sacrificing the their free time, work and affections for the weakest. A sacrifice on impulse, not knowing what they’re going to encounter, moved by an absolute altruism and by principles of life that are reflected in the 7 fundamental principles of the association.


A temporary volunteer is moved by feelings such as humanity, to prevent and alleviate man’s suffering in all circumstances, impartiality by making no distinction of nationality or religion towards the next but, above all, by voluntariness, not being guided by the desire for any kind of gain. The temporary volunteer sacrifices himself in the a time of need, without fear of the future. A civilized society is righteous about the others and never before have we seen this, are the moments more difficult and unpredictable those in which we are called to bring out the best of us. Any person who has been spared personal pain should feel called upon to help diminish that of others and the volunteers of the Red Cross in the course of their centenary history have never ceased to they didn’t hesitate one second to sacrifice themselves.
towards our neighbor, even in the face of humanity’s darkest and most difficult time since the II-war. As Sophocles wrote as far back as 500bc: “The most beautiful human work is certainly to be useful to others”, even for just one minute of our time.
day, even for one and only temporary sacrifice.

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