Dr. Norman Bethune – 80 years ago today

 

The following is not mine, nor can I vouch for its accuracy.   I compiled and edited here from the online source of Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung (sic) as a tribute to Dr. Norman Bethune, my fellow Canadian, albeit Communist Canadian who also fought as a physician in World War II for the people of Canada and the World in China with the 8th Route Army.  We all have a choice, I guess.

The Monument to Norman Bethune in Montreal , Canada.

The memorial for his death was held 80 years ago…

“IN MEMORY OF NORMAN BETHUNE

“December, 1939

“…Norman Bethune[1], a member of the Communist Party of Canada, was around fifty when he was sent by the Communist Parties of Canada and the United States to China; he made light of traveling thousands of miles to help us in our War of Resistance Against Imperial Japan.  He arrived in Yenan in the spring of last year, went to work in the Wutai Mountains, and to our great sorrow died a martyr at his post.  What kind of spirit is this that makes a foreigner selflessly adopt the cause of the Chinese people’s liberation as his own?

“It is the spirit of internationalism, the spirit of communism, from which every Chinese Communist must learn…Bethune put this Leninist line into practice. We Chinese Communists must also follow this line in our practice. We must unite with the proletariat of all the capitalist countries, with the proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, Germany, Italy and all other capitalist countries, for this is the only way to overthrow imperialism, to liberate our nation and people and to liberate the other nations and peoples of the world. This is our internationalism, the internationalism with which we oppose both narrow nationalism and narrow patriotism.

“…Bethune’s spirit, his utter devotion to others without any thought of self, was shown in his great sense of responsibility in his work and his great warm-heartedness towards all comrades and the people. Every Communist must learn from him.

“There are not a few people who are irresponsible in their work, preferring the light and shirking the heavy, passing the burdensome tasks on to others and choosing the easy ones for themselves. At every turn they think of themselves before others. When they make some small contribution, they swell with pride and brag about it for fear that others will not know. They feel no warmth towards comrades and the people but are cold, indifferent and apathetic…

“No one who returned from the front failed to express admiration for Bethune whenever his name was mentioned, and none remained unmoved by his spirit. In the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area, no soldier or civilian was unmoved who had been treated by Dr. Bethune or had seen how he worked…

“…Bethune was a doctor, the art of healing was his profession and he was constantly perfecting his skill, which stood very high in the Eighth Route Army’s medical service. His example is an excellent lesson for those people who wish to change their work the moment they see something different and for those who despise technical work as of no consequence or as promising no future.

“…Bethune and I met only once.  We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With this spirit everyone can be very useful to the people. A man’s ability may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar interests, a man who is of value to the people.”


1. “The distinguished surgeon Norman Bethune was a member of the Canadian Communist Party. In 1936 when the German and Italian fascists invaded Spain, he went to the front and worked for the Spanish people. In order to help the Chinese people in their War of Resistance Against Imperial Japan, he came to China at the head of a Medical Team and arrived in Yenan in spring 1938.   Soon after he went to the Shansi-Chahar-Hopei border area. Imbued with ardent internationalism and the great communist spirit, he served the army and the people of the Liberated Areas for nearly two years. He contracted blood poisoning while operating on wounded soldiers and died in Tanghsien, Hopei, on November 12, 1939”


We provide the Full Link to In Memory to Norman Bethune, but do not try to make the whole article ours.  It does not belong to us. We only give you a flavour of it, so you can make up your own mind if you like and want to support the award-winning journalism behind it, like we do. Of course, we do not or could support all the points made in any article we highlight, but that is part of living in a democracy.  We believe the material is relevant to all and is necessary for their personal judgments.


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