Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, August 21, 2002
# 10:00:00 AM:

No holiday

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Next month, my doctor, I.K. Hassam of the Yaletown Medical Clinic, is taking three weeks off. It's no holiday, though -- he's joining more than a dozen other physicians on a medical relief trip to Tajikistan. As he's done once before, he'll see patients there and help set up medical clinics in a remote, mountainous, and dangerous part of the world.

Just to get there, he must fly from Vancouver to Frankfurt, then to Istanbul. From Turkey, he boards a Tajik jet on a route that Soviet-era Aeroflot pilots used to receive extra danger pay for flying, because of the difficult, high terrain and primitive aerospace infrastructure. Plus it's next door to Afghanistan.

Ryan (whom I seem to quote a lot since discovering his site last week) wrote about doing the right thing: "If doing the right thing didn't cost you personally in dollars, friends, prospects, health, whatever you value most, everyone would do it and it would no longer be an act worthy of profound respect. But they don't, and it still is." Dr. Hassam is doing the right thing. I'll see him once more before he leaves, and I'll wish him a safe journey.


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