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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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DOCTORS DIARY Table of Contents   
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 883-884
British doctor lectures in damascus. "human affiliation or belonging"

Formerly Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Damascus Medical School Parliament Street, Salhieh, Diab Building, Damascus, Syria

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Date of Web Publication2-Sep-2009

How to cite this article:
Pharaon S. British doctor lectures in damascus. "human affiliation or belonging". Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2009;20:883-4

How to cite this URL:
Pharaon S. British doctor lectures in damascus. "human affiliation or belonging". Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2009 [cited 2022 Aug 18];20:883-4. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2009/20/5/883/55385
Obstetricians-Gynecologists in Damascus were delighted to have listened to Professor Harith Lamki from Belfast, North-Ireland in two lec­tures dealing with cancer: those of the cervix and of the ovary. It is relevant to mention that Prof. H-L is Omani by birth, but his family soon moved to Zanzibar and in his youth he went to Belfast-UK, where he studied medi­cine, graduated, practiced and became a pro­fessor there in Obstetrics and Gynaecology until his recent retirement. He is visiting many Middle-Eastern countries as Sims-Black Scho­larship lecturer, and Syria was his second sta­tion after Lebanon. The first lecture dealt with cervical cancer, and he was given in the mor­ning at Damascus University Maternity Hos­pital. The hall was full with undergraduates, residents, members of the staff, many interes­ted specialists and many fellows and members of the RCOG. One of the University staff introduced him as an English visiting doctor, but soon the guest objected and said that he is a North-Irish doctor…and that Irish believe they are first-class humans and doctors. The writer of these lines smiled and uttered that English people think otherwise about Irish, and this aroused quiet smiles and laughter. This remark induced a big question in my mind: How does a human being define his affiliation? His belonging? Is it by birth? Or by the country where he/she spent his infancy and childhood? Or where he studied and esta­blished his career and made his/her profe­ssional achievements? Is Professor Harith­Lamki really Irish because it was there that he spent the longest span of his life, where he studied medicine, specialized and worked as specialist and contributed in doing something good and beneficial to his newly-adopted people and society? What about Arabs, Euro­peans and Asians who spent the majority of their lives in America, I mean the USA? Are they Americans? Or still Arabs, Germans, Poles, Russians or Japanese? We have to admit that there is some quibble about this com­plicated question of defining whether one belongs to this or that part of the world and also to this or that background of civilization and culture! In fact there are two opinions, sometimes coinciding and some other times quite contradicting, as far as this quizzical diagnostic problem is concerned: The first is that of the adopting society in which these migrating humans live, and the second is that of their own inner selves and that of what they sincerely feel in their depths. Just one or two clarifying instances: when I was training in a hospital in Scotland, in the early sixties, one of the registrars looked different: his dress was like a German or Austrian Alpinist! When talking to him, he told me that he was German and that he was a Wagnerite! I discovered that he was a German Jew who fled the Nazi oppression and terrorism, but in spite of that he still considered himself, and in fact the patients considered him too, as a German.Another instance is much closer: When I was studying and working in British hospitals, both north and south of the borders, I innately felt like a true and real Briton. In other words, I felt very much at home and spontaneously behaved like any other inborn Briton. In fact, after more than four decades since I left the British Isles, I still keep those British norms and that deep sense of respecting time: I hate being a minute or later on any appointment, be it a visit or a lecture etc. It matters not if this and other forms of life discipline are taken here very loosely and even carelessly. This leads us to a much wider and more humane concept of belonging and affiliation: that all human beings living on this planet have indeed very many items in common, that they all belong to a unifying and harmonizing entity: that of the human genre, especially when they remember and admit that people and cultures have never been completely separated and segregated from one another, they have all and without any exception given to others and received from others, and this perpetual bidirectional exchange is the most fascinating and prominent features of the human race. The Royal College of Obste­tricians and Gynecologists and other sister Colleges embrace members worldwide and from different cultural backgrounds, which is a great sign and proof of this theory. At this step, most, if not all, human beings would realize that they belong to one ubiquitous and multi­faceted category: that of being Humans. And this is in fact the nicest and noblest stigma of our species. Only narrow-minded and bigoted creatures would think and believe otherwise.

Shall we go back to cervical cancer? Pro­fessor H-L's lecture was lucid and informative and reminded us at the same time that we are living and practicing in this underdeveloped world, and how much effort should we exert to fill in the gap and decrease the very many belatedly diagnosed cases of cervical cancer in which the society, culture, traditional concepts and doctors as well are responsible and play a noxious role. In the evening lecture, the guest lecturer spoke about ovarian cancer, which forms a more exacting and challenging illness as far as early diagnosis, efficient treatment and survival are concerned. After the lecture, it was highly meaningful when Syrian Fellows and Members of the RCOG met with the guest lecturer and discussed important topics of the relationship between Fellows and Members living and working in distant parts of the world and the College and how to improve such relationships or metaphorically such a placento­foetal circulation??? It is hoped that such ties would be strengthened in the future. Certainly the Sims-Black Scholarship forms a prelimi­nary step towards such active international ties. This is certainly an optimistic and soothing facet of inter-human relations in this present time, where only mass human killing, aggression, hatreds, lust for domination and slavering reign… Let us all hope that inter­national better understanding, toleration and mutual respect will develop, thrive and replace all the former sins, and thus Peace would reign on this turbulent planet.


Correspondence Address:
Sadek Pharaon
Formerly Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Damascus Medical School Parliament Street, Salhieh, Diab Building, Damascus
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19736497

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