Jun 27, 2015 by

The New York Times »

Nicholas Kristof


That’s me in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, interviewing villagers as they fetch water. It’s a scary place to report from, because the Sudanese government periodically drops bombs on anything that moves. But if it’s scary for a visit, imagine working here day in, day out, amputating limbs and treating burns of those injured in the bombs – and doing all this as the government is dropping bombs on you.
That’s what Dr. Tom Catena, an American surgeon is doing, and he’s the subject of my Sunday column. One of the pleasures of having a column is the privilege of shining a spotlight on some heroes of our time, and “Dr. Tom” is one of those heroes.
I also wanted to highlight Dr. Tom because he’s driven to work here because of his deep Catholic faith. I often hear friends make disparaging comments about aid workers driven by faith, partly reflecting the “God Gap” in American society between the secular world and the conservative Christian world. I think this religious divide is unhealthy and unfair. Dr. Tom is a conservative Catholic, and I disagree with him on a million issues – but I’m just full of admiration for what he’s doing in Nuba. So I use my column to explore this divide, in hopes that bleeding hearts can unite whatever their theology or lack thereof. (For those who want to support Dr. Tom’s efforts, I have information on my blog about how to do so.)
On another front, you may remember that I was recently in Baltimore, on a U.S. swing for my annual win-a-trip journey. My 2015 win-a-trip winner, Austin Meyer of Stanford University, has made a terrific podcast of his time with a former drug dealer who’s trying to turn his life around – and a first-rate program helping him do just that. It’s well worth a listen!
And if you missed the Angola video I did with Adam Ellick – about corruption causing the deaths of tens of thousands of children – then check it out! It had a huge response, and I’m sure Angola’s president and his billionaire daughter are squirming. As they should!
Read my Sunday column in defense of religious aid workers – and highlighting the incredible Dr. Tom, a surgeon undeterred by bombings. »

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