borders & frontiers

“Needless to say I have never seen it before, nor has my more experienced colleague.”

Dr. Shadi Abdelrahman is a young surgeon from Cairo. he just finished his first mission with MSF, in a hospital in Agok, Abyei, an area with special administrative status located between Sudan and South Sudan. Even though this was his first mission for MSF, it was not his first foray into field work. He talks about his experience of delivering a miraculous baby girl in his first-ever Caesarean section.

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“Barbed Holidays” (hq 12MB)

Gif for @thecreatorsproject, 2nd Day of GIFmas 2015.

“Our attention is like a blinking light.”

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Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the developing world’s biggest killers, with 9.4 million new cases and 1.7 million deaths each year. Swaziland, also, has one of the highest rates of TB and multi-drug resistant TB worldwide. 80%% of people in Swaziland who contract TB are also HIV-positive.

Tholaleke, 39, has drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and stated treatment in May 2016 at the Moneni National TB Hospital, supported by MSF in central Swaziland. It was while receiving injections that she suffered from severe leg pains, which affected her ability to walk, that made her thankful that she could receive at-home treatment. However, because she lived alone and did not have anyone to help look after her, she was admitted to Moneni Hospital in November for two months.

For many DR-TB patients like Tholaleke, treatment is a long and grueling 2-year journey, taking multiple tablets and injections in some cases, treatment can last longer if the patient doesn’t respond to treatment. Side-effects include deafness, liver or kidney toxicity, and even psychosis. These effects often force patients to give up their jobs while on treatment. In countries like Swaziland, TB patients are often more likely to succumb to poverty more than the disease itself. 

In hopes of helping patients who have gone deaf, 11 DR-TB patients and 30 MSF staff members recently completed sign language training.

Becoming deaf and not knowing sign language sometimes forces patients to isolate themselves from their families, due to inability to communicate. By empowering them with the skill of sign language, MSF staff in Swaziland hopes to reintegrate them into society.

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Meet Sarmad, 23, from Iraq.

Sarmad left his country because of the security situation. He lived in Turkey for a short time but decided to try and reach Europe.

He has lived inside Moria camp for the past eight months and he works as a barber to collect some money to live.

“… I am not talking only about myself, I am talking about all the refugees. Their life is difficult here, you can see, we live in tents. There have been problems here, some people died because of fire…we have had enough of war and of destruction, of explosions and killings every day, and of the houses collapsing on our heads. And we have come straight into psychological warfare.

Maybe we should come back to our country, then? That’s it, maybe if we are going to die, we should die in our country.” 

analeeblitz  asked:

My friend agrees with Putin saying that he is best leader. What do you think?

If you want to live like this, then surely he is

“Misha Nikolaev lived in Moscow Province. His family saw him off to the army in July 2001. He was sent to the Border Guards, to a frontier post ten hours’ flying time from Moscow, at the village of Goryachy Plyazh, on Anuchina Island in the Lesser Kurils–the Pacific islandsthat have vexed Russian and Japanese politicians since the end of the Second World War.
While the two nations argue, someone has to police the border. Misha was one of those doing the job. He lasted just six months at this outpost of the Russian Far East and died on December 22, 2001. By the autumn he had already been writing alarming letters home, having discovered festering sores on his body. He asked his family to send medicine: Vishnevsky’s Balm, sulfanilamide, "in fact, any medicines for treating suppuration, metapyrin, antiseptic, bandages and as much sticking plaster as possible. There is nothing here.” His parents sent off the parcels without complaining; aware that the army is underfunded, they assumed that things could not be all that bad, since Misha was still working as a cook in the army’s kitchens. If he was seriously ill, his parents supposed, he wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near food preparation.
Even when his skin was covered with oozing sores, though, Misha continued to cook meals for the troops. The pathologist who conducted the autopsy reported that the unfortunate soldier’s tissues literally split apart under the scalpel. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, a Russian soldier rotted alive under the eyes of his officers, receiving no medical attention at all. What killed Misha was the complete lack of responsibility of his superiors"

It’s an excerpt from book Putin’s Russia and the woman who wrote it was shot and killed execution-style. Just as her collegue Natalya Estemirova. Just as any journalist, human rights advocate or politician that was loud enough in reporting Putin’s crimes agains his own people.

Dungeoneers without Borders/Aventuriers sans Frontiers

In fantasy worlds in which “Adventurer” is a legitimate career as opposed to something unique that the players do, and monsters spontaneously spawn in abandoned places (Or just well up from the earth, ala Living Dungeons in 13th Age, or are left behind by a series of awful previously destroyed civilizations, as in Golarion), there will be those, of course, who turn it into a profit-making enterprise. Hence adventurer’s guilds being a relatively common thing. 

But there also may be those who see “Clearing out the demons that spawned near that poor farming village” as a charitable cause.

Hence, Dungeoneers without Borders, or as they say in that one country where the language is based on the GM’s mangled memory of High School French, Aventuriers sans Frontiers. 

ASF offers a stipend and helps equip adventurers to assist those who slip through the cracks of the standard adventuring agreement- villages so poor that they have to pay in chickens and thus can’t afford the fees for regular adventurers or the guild.. Since the organization is a non-profit and largely funded by donations, the stipend’s a bit small, and the gear provided may be “Whatever we’ve got this week” instead of “What would actually be useful where you’re going,”  but the Dungeoneers without Borders make do, some of them becoming surprisingly well-known.

Being relatively new, the ASF has yet to have any serious conflicts with the Guild, which tends to regard itself as having a monopoly on the Adventuring trade, but it’s possible that if a large enough monstrous incursion happened and impacted both the poor communities ASF services and a more prosperous one that could afford the guild, well, that could be the spark that ignites a serious rivalry. 


The Forgotten Antonine Wall,

I’m sure just about everyone has heard of the world famous “Hadrian’s Wall”, the ancient Roman wall separating iron age Scotland and Roman England which essentially served as the frontier of the Roman Empire.  However the Antonine Wall doesn’t get nearly as much press, and is largely forgotten by all except historians.

Like many emperors before him Antoninus Pius (reign 138-161) cemented his rule over the Roman people through a program of public building projects and territorial expansion.  As part of that program, Pius ordered the invasion of Southern Scotland beyond Hadrian’s Wall.  They conquered all territory up to the Scottish highlands, then set a new border complete with a new wall.  Located between the Firth of Forth and Firth of Clyde, Antonine’s Wall had the same purpose of the earlier Hadrian’s Wall; to define the border of the Roman frontier, prevent the barbarians from crossing into Roman territory, and serve as a buffer in case of invasion.  Unlike  Hadrian’s Wall, the Antonine Wall was not made entirely of stone.  Rather it was built from turf, piled upon a stone foundation and lined with stone and wood for added strength.  At the top of the wall would have been a wooden palisade, and in front of the wall was dug a large moat, as well as a series of trenches, pitfalls, and various other obstacles.  The wall itself was 10 feet high and 16 feet wide.

Altogether the Antonine Wall stretched from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, covering a total of 39 miles.  However it was not the wall by itself that kept barbarian invaders out, but the men who manned the wall.  Across the wall, spaced out at two mile intervals were 16 forts, in between which were a series of guard houses and guard towers.  In addition a number of forts were built north of the wall to protect trade routes leading to and from what the Roman’s called “Caledonia”.  To supply the defenders of the wall, and allow for a quick response in case of invasion, a 39 mile long Roman military road was built on the southern side of the wall.

The Antonine Wall took 12 years to build, but was short lived.  The Romans were never able to pacify the Caledonians, and thus the wall was under constant attack.  In 162 Emperor Marcus Aurelius ordered the wall abandoned and its legions retired to Hadrian’s Wall.  While the exact reasons behind abandoning the wall are unknown, it was most likely because the wall guarded territory that was not worth holding, in an attempt to rule over a people who had little to offer in tax revenue.  In 208 the wall was re-occupied and repaired under order of Emperor Septimus Severus.  However the new occupation was even shorter lived, only lasting a few years.

Over time the wall was deconstructed as locals used the wall for building materials.  Eventually time and the weather also wore down the turf walls into small mounds.  Today all that remains of the Antonine Wall are a line of mounds, trenches, and stone foundations, as well as the remains of Roman forts.
A Sisterhood of Women in an Afghanistan Hospital #IWD2017
On International Women’s Day 2017, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is highlighting the challenges that women in Afghanistan face durin...

On International Women’s Day 2017, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is highlighting the challenges that women in Afghanistan face during pregnancy and childbirth. #HerVoiceIsMyVoice

Severine Caluwaerts is an MSF OBGYN in Khost, Afghanistan, at MSF’s largest maternity project. This is her seventh time in Khost.

“I’m doing exactly the job that made me study medicine so many years ago, to help people who most need help,” said Caluwaerts. “Afghanistan is a war-torn country. Our patients are continuously confronted with the war. Families lose husbands, children die, mothers die. And what MSF is offering them is a safe place to deliver.”

“ I see Afghan women, Afghan doctors, Afghan midwives. I see them from doing their first delivery to becoming really experienced and two of our national doctors still here, Dr Sadia and Dr Farida, I taught them basically their first Caesarean section and now so many years later they are independent.

It’s like a sisterhood of women. It’s Afghan women taking care of Afghani women and Afghani babies.”

If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.


Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legistlation to be torn up and rewritten … the list grew and grew.

The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over - Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was “never”. When Michael Gove went on and on about “informal negotiations” … why? why not the formal ones straight away? … he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

Source: Guardian comment


Residents in the city of Taiz must risk their lives to seek medical care. The conflict, which has been active since March 2015, has included the bombing of hospitals, gunfire directed at ambulances, and the harassment of health workers. Today, there are no public hospitals in Taiz city or its surroundings that are fully open and functioning.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) works on both sides of the front lines in Taiz, running a trauma center for war-wounded and a mother and child hospital in the Al-Houban neighborhood. MSF also supports departments in four hospitals inside the city center, two of them for emergency treatment of the wounded and the others supporting maternal and pediatric health care.

Read Yemen: Health Care Under Siege at

After providing urgent medical care, MSF has launched a major distribution of building materials, hygiene kits, water storage equipment, blankets, and energy bars to benefit 10,000 families living in the remote mountain of Sud-Ouest, the region of Haiti most severely affected by Hurricane Matthew.

MSF has relied on a partnership with community members to ensure the success of the initiate. “In the presence of MSF staff, the beneficiary collects the items for his or her family [an average of 7 people] from a community representative who previously accepted the items at the time they were delivered,” explains field distribution coordinator, François Giddey.

More than 205 MSF national staff and 39 international staff are still active in the post-Matthew  response. MSF has carried out emergency response in departments of Grande Anse, Sud, and Nippes. 

Mother, Medical Director, Refugee- Doc Nagham in Amman

Leyan, 19, studying oral medicine, trained professional Dabkah dancer - a traditional Palestinian dance. “It is one of my dreams to become a dentist. I want to help my people and I hope to take up an important role in society.”

After several weeks of being sick and missing school, 15-year-old Naina in India waits excitedly with her mother to receive the intravenous infusion at MSF-run Kala Azar ward. She returned home a few hours later.

Irene. a medical coordinator with MSF says goodbye to refugees and migrants as they disembark the Bourbon Argos search and rescue ship.

Celebrate International Women’s Day - and shoutout to our amazing female patients and staff who continue to show immense strength and inspire us all!

In 2011, 39 year old Prisca enrolled as a patient in the MSF HIV/AIDS project in Zimbabwe. She was diagnosed with HIV in 2008 and became pregnant by her second husband in 2010, whom she had met at the project. She named her daughter, Shamiso and gave birth in January of 2011. In Shona, one of the widest spoken languages in Zimbabwe, Shamiso means ‘miracle’. And a miracle she was. When tested, Shamiso’s tests came back with a result that truly shocked Prisca – HIV negative. Because of that, Prisca even thought of having a second child with her husband.

Now Shamiso is 5 years old and is a fully healthy and functioning child, even attending school. 

“I had not known about MSF’s HIV program before I went and got tested but when I tested positive, I followed all the instructions I was given, but I still thought my child would be HIV positive. I had lost all hope but I got assistance and through that, I was able to give birth to an HIV negative child.”

Parwez (age 15)

“I come from Nangarhar in Afghanistan.

I’m travelling with my cousin - it’s just the two of us now. I’m 15 and my cousin is 16. My father was with us too, but we lost him on the way, in the forest on the border between Iran and Turkey. The police fired on us, and I don’t know where my father went. After that, we moved on to Bulgaria and to Serbia.

My father always told me: ‘You have to be strong because the way that we are going is very hard. Your life is in danger, you have to leave Afghanistan.’

We’ve been here in Belgrade for 12 days. We’re sleeping in an old train station, in a big hall. It’s not good at all, it’s too smoky. We don’t have clean water to drink. At 1PM, volunteers come and give us food, and sometimes we also eat eggs.

Before we left, my father said: ‘There’s no peace here, there’s only war, that’s why we have to go.’

My father had been to France before his job. When we left, I expected that we’d go to France and that there’d be no war.

I feel like I don’t have any chance. I told the authorities that I want to go to one of the camps [in Serbia]. They told me that I can go to a closed camp, but I don’t want to live like that. I’d like to go to an open camp.

The way we have been treated makes me feel really sad. I don’t like politicians – it’s because of politicians that we are stuck here.

It wasn’t a good situation in Bulgaria. The police came, and they beat me. Here in Serbia, a lot of organisations are helping us. But the weather is too cold.

My family are still in Afghanistan. Sometimes I talk to them on the phone.

I’m really sad now because my mother isn’t here, I don’t have my family, it’s not a good life. When I sleep at night, I always cry. I say to my cousin: ‘Where is my mother, where is my father, where is my family?’”