On the calendar of the lives of many people around the world that is jammed with dates of wars, disasters and bloody events, May 8 may be just another normal day. However, it is definitely a special and more spreading day for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement all over the world and throughout the globe, where all forms of fatigue, anxiety and disasters rule.
This year, the movement commemorates its 150th anniversary. In addition to marking the launch of the movement, this date has been bringing a more special meaning and a greater humanitarian dimension.
The Lebanese Red cross(LRC), ICRC, and the International Federation launched a bus decorated with the fundamental principles and under the slogan “ 150 years…on the Road of Humanity” accompanied with the global slogan “Our World … Your Move”. The Red Cross Bus set off to roam the country, in order to disseminate the concepts of improving communication and spreading of knowledge. The bus will roam the country holding an exhibition of 40 photos chosen from eight axes in the world including Lebanon, and carrying other publications (stickers, posters, post cards, and children stories) to be distributed among people. In addition, a special humanitarian song was prepared to support the trip of the bus. Simultaneous with the trip which expands from 8 May till the end of July, a variety of activities shall be held and organized by the volunteers in LRC branches and centers. It should be noted that the bus is an idea prepared by a commission comprising of the Lebanese Red Cross, ICRC and the International Federation. The launching was proceeded in the presence of the Lebanese Red Cross President, Sami al-Dahdah, the Head of the ICRC Delegation in Lebanon, George Comninos, and the Head of Delegation of the International Federation, Ole Johan Hauge, in a press conference at the Lebanese Red Cross headquarters in Beirut.
The celebration included speeches from Dahdah, Comninos and Hauge. Dahdah stressed that “the Lebanese Red Cross is trying to be present on all operational levels by using all its efforts and capabilities.” “In some circumstances, a lot of losses were sustained, especially when Red Cross’s volunteered medics were martyred in the line of duty,” he added. Dahdah also noted “the efforts of the six thousand LRC volunteers and personnel deployed in centers all over Lebanon.
Dahdah said in his speech that “the Lebanese Red Cross was last year able to provide about 580,000 various human services that served 16 % of Lebanon’s population in all Lebanese regions, and in different fields.”
Hauge, on the other hand, said that the movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a grassroots organization in its very nature. “From the largest cities to the smallest villages, the volunteers and staff of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shall take to the streets to focus on youth, as they are considered the driving force, and on concentrating the world’s attention on the challenges facing humanity.
Comninos seized the opportunity of the anniversary to show that “the International Committee of the Red Cross aims at shedding light on all the unprecedented challenges facing the Committee today, such as armed conflicts and their terrible consequences on persons who do not participate, or stopped participating, in hostilities and atrocities.”
“We hope that we shall all meet in the next Eighth of May, while the Lebanese Red Cross would have and provide much more giving and sacrifices for humanity.”