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.