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by Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor
Jean Milligan
Federation editor
We knew it was not going to be an easy project - a photo essay of 100 years of Red Cross and Red Crescent action. It would not be possible to cover all wars and disasters and each activity. We tried to highlight the spirit and people within the Movement this century.
During our research we witnessed again and again the transformation of the Movement's principles into action: the power of an ICRC delegate to respond to a political prisoner's lone appeal for assistance, or the rapidity of Federation and National Society staff to send medical assistance to those struck by a devastating earthquake.

Yet for all the photos portraying Movement response to a crisis, there were many more showing the pain and suffering of the victims. This century has seen the advancement of humanity on many levels but the atrocities committed should shame us into humility.

We have entitled our essay "The power of humanity". By now this slogan is familiar to all of us in the Red Cross and Red Crescent, as the message of the Movement for the new millennium. But we mean it in a broader sense: the power of humanity to hurt and to heal.

A special 'thank you' to the staff of the ICRC and Federation photo libraries for their support and guidance in the preparation of the photo essay. Also, the books Beyond conflict by Daphne A. Reid and Patrick F. Gilbo and Focus on humanity by Nicolas Bouvier and Michéle Mercier were valuable sources of information and inspiration.


Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor
Jean Milligan
Federation editor
Finally, at those moments where we felt we could look no more, the words of Nicolas Bouvier, a Swiss writer and artist, prevented us from abandoning our project. "My belief is that one must have passed through fire oneself... to be able to sort out... the contents of these storehouses of sorrow, where fortunately we can also find, more often than we might have dared to expect... enough small miracles to motivate and encourage those in the field who are so often compelled, to quote a mediaeval Japanese poem, 'to bear the unbearable and tolerate the intolerable'."





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