During his five decades in the field Pascal Grellety Bosviel recorded his experiences in watercolour paintings, such as the ones above, from his time working in Laos. These paintings and many more, from nearly all corners of the globe, are included in his recently published book, Toute une vie d’humanitaire, produced by the Paris delegation of the ICRC as part of its 150 years of humanitarian action commemoration.
To read more, visit www.redcross.int.

A lifetime of humanity

These images from Pascal Grellety Bosviel’s recent book, Toute une vie d’humanitaire, tell just some of the stories from his five-decade career as a doctor for the ICRC and later, for Médecins sans Frontières. Produced by the ICRC’s Paris delegation as part of ICRC’s 150 years of humanitarian action campaign, the book offers many first-hand accounts, dozens of photos, colorful annotated drawings and water-color paintings that describe Bosviel’s work during some of the defining moments for humanitarian action in the 20th century.



Many of his paintings include short stories or pithy anecdotes that offer a frank, often self-deprecating, humorous, moving or even critical commentary on the daily work of humanitarians.


The text in the image below, for example, depicts the author during a private interview with prisoners of war in Yemen. The text details the questions he asks and the responses of the prisoners.

It reads as follows:

Interview without witnesses with prisoners of war

“Ok my dear friends, now that we are all alone, you can tell me everything.
Do you have enough rice, meat and vegetables?”
“Yes, it’s ok.”
“Do you get enough sleep?”
“Yes, it’s ok.”
“Do you have enough entertainment?”
“Yes, it’s ok.”
“Yes, no problem.”
“Enough time to pray?”
“Enough Korans?”
“The Geneva Conventions?”
“Yes, it’s ok.”
“But then you have need of NOTHING here?!”
“But sir, you have forgotten just one little thing….Freedom!”

To learn more, see:

A colorful and dramatic video interview with Pascal Grellety Bosviel from ICRC’s YouTube channel.

A description of the book from the blog of the ICRC Paris Delegation

A press release about the book from the ICRC web site.

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