In 1859 Swiss entrepreneur Jean Henri Dunant went in search of French Emperor Napoleon III, whom he hoped would help with a business venture. While in present-day, Italy Dunant witnessed the Battle of Solferino, in which some 40,000 troops were killed or wounded in a single day. Neither parties had much of the medical corps. Dunant organised a group of volunteers to bring food and water to the wounded, to treat their injuries and to write letters to their families. He shared the battlefield horror, “Some, who had gaping wounds already beginning to show infection…begged to be put out of their misery, and writhed with faces distorted in the grip of the death struggle.” Others were “disfigured…their limbs stiffened, their bodies blotched with ghastly spots, their hands clawing at the ground, their eyes staring wildly,” Dunant wrote.
A gruesome battle sparked an idea. The Red Cross was officially established on this day (17th February) in 1863 when Dunant, along four others, set up the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded, later to become the International Committee of the Red Cross to reflect its emblem: a red cross on a white background. Red Crescent (adopted on the insistence of the Ottoman Empire and incorporated into the Geneva Conventions in 1929) is the name used in Islamic countries.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a global humanitarian network of over 97 million staff, volunteers and supporters that helps those facing disaster, conflict and health and social problems. It consists of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Each has its own legal identity and role, but all united by seven fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.
Signatories to the four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005 have given the Geneva-based ICRC a mandate to protect victims of international and internal armed conflicts. Such victims include war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants.
The ICRC also administers a number of funds by special donations from individuals or organisations. The Florence Nightingale medal was established by national societies in honour of the renowned English nurse of the 19th century. It is awarded to nurses or nursing aides who have distinguished themselves in times of peace or war.
Working for the Red Cross can be very dangerous. Though, under international law, it is illegal to deliberately target humanitarian workers, that has not stopped Red Cross from finding itself in the line of fire. In 1996, masked men gunned down six Red Cross aides as they slept in a Chechen hospital compound. Similar attacks have occurred at various battle-zones, including those in Burundi, Somalia, Congo, Bosnia and Syria.
The Red Cross has won more Nobel Peace Prizes than anyone. It has won the Nobel Prize in 1917 and 1944, as a tribute to its humanitarian activities during the two World Wars, and again in 1963 on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, when it shared with the League of Red Cross Societies (now the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies).
Welcome to ‘Nutty’s Infotainment. YAYS!’. And your time starts NOW!
Name the book, authored by Swiss humanitarian Henri Dunant in 1862, in which he described horrors on a battle field in the present-day Italy, and proposed the formation of voluntary relief societies all over the world.
Un Souvenir de Solferino (A Memory of Solferino)
World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day is celebrated each year on May 8. What is the significance of this date?
Birthday of Henry Dunant (born in 1828).
What connects Swiss flag to the emblem of International Committee of the Red Cross?
They are inverse of each other.
Name the composition by Irving Berlin considered as the official wartime song of American Red Cross.
Angels of Mercy.
Name the businessman and social-activist who shared the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, along with Frederic Passy.
M*A*S*H is an American war comedy-drama television series that had its debut on CBS on this day (17th February) in 1972. What does the acronym ‘M*A*S*H stand for?
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
What historical first in sardines business was made by Julius Wolff on this day in 1876?
First to can sardines.
The Full Moon of a particular month is called Snow Moon, named after the snow on the ground. Some North American tribes named it the Hunger Moon due to the scarce food sources and hard hunting conditions during this month, while others named it the Storm Moon. Which month is it?
What number did the Chicago Bulls retire in honour of today’s birthday boy, Michael Jordan?
Name this famous Irish turkey.
(Answer next week. Answer to last week’s photo-quiz: Boris Pasternak. The book was Dr. Zhivago.)
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