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Paul Girard, Laurence Levy and Renato Ruberti have just left us. Three Colleagues. Three Europeans. Three Africans. Three Men. 2007 was thus the year when three renowned professors in neurosurgery and neurology of the African continent passed away. Geographical considerations apart, when someone close passes away, one meditates on their endeavours and choices in order to draw the lessons relevant for one’s life.

I shall not delve into the scientific and professional qualities of our colleagues. We know them all. They left a rich heritage and treated thousands of sick people to the highest possible standards. They also showed and demonstrated us that quality neurosurgery, neurology and treatment in general do not necessarily call for state-of-the art facilities and material.

The existential issue of choice truly is one striking feature in life. Indeed, we have no control over the choice of our birth and death. However, regarding the rest, the options we choose during our lives are the fruit of our own decisions and responsibility. Laurence, Paul and Renato could have chosen to practise where they were born – respectively Great Britain, France and Italy – seen as the environmental, political, social and economic conditions would have been better. Nothing ever forced them to live and serve in Africa, an ever-changing continent in turmoil. Only love could give the strength to live up to a struggle considered doomed to failure, as well as adhering to philosophy of humanism, whose pillars are liberty, tolerance, independence and openness to others. The world is currently characterised by a paradox. Globalisation’s ever increasing pace has shrunk space and time, which could actively help build bridges between peoples. Instead, communities isolate themselves, also nationalism has resurged in the most threatening manner, all of this in an era of DNA “tracing”…

Our colleagues’ endeavours clearly go to show that this world belongs to the entire human species because it stems from one single strain. Homo sapiens migrations date back to 200,000 years ago, thus ascertaining the inanity and vacuity of the status of native people. Professors Levy, Girard and Ruberti are natives of our planet earth. Africa is grateful to them
for reminding this to us all.

May they rest in peace!


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ISSN: 1992-2647