Friday, 26 December 2008

Alberto Cairo: A Good Man

Photo © Tyler Hicks/NYT-All Rights Reserved

In the midst of the unimaginable mess, misery and corruption in Afghanistan comes the story of Alberto Cairo, heads the orthopedic rehabilitation program of the International Committee of the Red Cross, a job dedicated to helping disabled Afghans live normally again by equipping them with artificial legs and arms.

Here's a man whose story is truly a remarkable one, and that The New York Times brings to us to exemplify selflessness and charity. The photographs are by Tyler Hicks and the story by John F. Burns.

The article tells us that "Mr. Cairo, once a debonair lawyer in his native Turin, Italy, is almost certainly the most celebrated Western relief official in Afghanistan, at least among Afghans. To the generation who have been beneficiaries of his relief work for the International Committee of the Red Cross, he is known simply as “Mr. Alberto,” a man apart among the 15,000 foreigners who live and work in this city."

It is reported that much of the $10 billion to $15 billion in aid donated since the Taliban's fall in 2001 goes to the salaries of foreign workers, however Mr. Cairo gives up much of his salary to patients and ensures that all but a handful of the jobs at the centers go to disabled Afghans, not foreigners. Is a Nobel Prize in the offing? It ought to be.

Here's The New York Times The Admired Foreigner