Help the Red Cross or become a member

Dear Bloggers,

My wife is an active member of the Red Cross division in our neighborhood. Every Tuesdaynight she is going to follow lessons with a diversety of items. They learn for example how to handle injured persons and also how to recognize bonefractures. Furthermore they learn CPR and how to use a walkie talkie as a professional which is needed when a disaster or a big event happens. Unfortunately the Red Cross in the Netherlands is getting short of (young and new) members, and we absolutely need these people for so many occasions. So I used all my sources to find out why I should write about them and I asked myself the following questions.
What is the Red Cross?
Most countries have a Red Cross Society or the Red Crescent but they have the same kind of background. The Red Cross can therefore (almost) anywhere in the world help people and children. Millions of volunteers who want to help, for example when an earthquake in Haiti struck recently the Red Cross in the Netherlands started to raise funds together with other help organisations, and they were sending people to help them. This is a specialized team that acts when disasters happen. The Red Cross consists largely of volunteers who do not get paid. Without all these volunteers the Red Cross would not exist. In the Netherlands there are about 34,000 volunteers.
The Red Cross has seven core values about the manner in which the Red Cross work is done. These agreements are called seven principles, I mention those seven lines, in my own words:

Voluntary service

A full worked out version you can read on

The founding of the Red Cross.
In 1859 there was a battle of Solferino in Italy between the French and the Austrian army. After the battle were 40,000 wounded left behind, nobody took care about them. They had no water, food and aid. Henry Dunant was in the neighborhood as a coinkydink. He went to help the wounded and was taking care about them and he succeeded on his own course. He asked the help of Italian women from the villages nearby. They made emergency stations for sick and injured. When Henry was back in Geneva from his journey. Solferino he could not forget about it and wrote a book:''Un souvenir de Solferino''. In this book he proposed three things to avoid. The proposals were:
- In every country should be voluntary aid organizations be established to care for the sick and wounded.
- The wounded on the battlefield should be consider as ordinary people and should be protected.
- An international rule, these proposals will help the law and provide security for the wounded and the people who take care of them .
His book was widely read and many people were agreeing with him. In 1863 came from 16 European countries to a meeting in Geneva. They approved the proposal of Henry to set up associations of voluntary workers. On October 29, 1863 the decision was taken and there was a new organization founded:''''The Red Cross! With the creation of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant's dream was fulfilled.
In the years that followed there was a National Red Cross club. The Red Cross in Belgium in 1864 was the first national association. The Dutch Red Cross was founded in 1867. As we speak about today there are around 170 countries with approx 128 million volunteers.
For all the work Henry Dunant did he got in 1901 the Nobel Peace Prize later he got another four times the Nobel Prize.

The origin of the symbol.
The Red Cross is not just a symbol. Already in the 18th century was agreed that sick and wounded soldiers should receive protection and assistance If they wear a red cross symbol with a white background. All of this was agreed in Geneva in 1949. The founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant as a Swiss, Henry had chosen for this symbol, it is because when you turn around (the white cross and red background) was a Swiss flag. The sign of the Red Crescent association instead of a Red Cross a red Moon During wars, the symbol used for protection of the sick and wounded, and for those who help them. Many people know the sign of the Red Cross. This sign is very important in wartime. The countries have agreed with each other if someone or something wears the Red Cross symbol that it should not be attacked. Also the sign of the Red Crescent should not be attacked.

The Netherlands Red Cross.
Even if a disaster occurs in the Netherlands as for example the fireworks disaster in Enschede, the fire in Volendam, there are Red Cross volunteers are ready to help.
There are some special teams if they need to help the staff of an ambulance to treat injuries and ensure that the victims relatives are informed and will be mentally supported or even being picked up if necessary.

This so called Sigma team is being called in cases of bigger accidents.Furthermore there is group that acts in cases of disasters like in Haiti to find people in the aftermath of an earthquake.

Closer to home some volunteers will help disabled people to go on holiday onboard of the Mps Henry Dunant a specialized hospital ship for the ones who otherwise can not travel. For all this they have weekly education and training. At football matches, popconcerts, the Eleven city ice skating tour and so on there are always people of the Red Cross. They are also helping out with big vaccination campaigns as with the Swine flu pandemic.They are always there for us, what ever might happen to us people.

What does the Red Cross abroad?
The Red Cross helps people who have no food and drinkable water or who are without clothes, people who just experienced a natural disaster, and people who need medication in a war. In every country there are people voluntarily helped to get them medical care and drinking water. If it really is needed the Red Cross also from other countries that provide money, personnel and supplies.
Around Christmas time a Dutch radio station was raising money for mosquito nets against malaria one of the biggest killers in the world. And recently all stations reunited for the earthquake in Haiti.

Four of today's recognised symbols: the red cross, the red crescent, the red lion/ sun and the red crystal.

The Red Cross and Politics

When the founders of the International Red Cross met for the first time in 1863 in Geneva, they decided to establish an humanitarian movement of strict neutrality. Soon, however, it became clear that politics and ethics could not be separated. Humanitarian aid and (local) political circumstances are aspects of the same society. The present attitude of the generals in Burma, the recent closure of the World Food Program in North Korea or the deception by Nazis’in the concentration camp Theresianstadt are proverbial and notorious examples. Even symbolism did not escape from the religious and political division. The Red Cross and the Red Crescent are the most significant results of this discussion. The Iranian government launched a successful campaign to introduce in 1922 the Red Lion and Red Sun.  The recent discussions, however, concerning the Red David led to an astonishing compromise. On 14 January 2007, the Third Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions entered into force. With it, the additional emblem, the Red Crystal, was formally recognized as emblem. The possibility of using the Red Crystal will make it easier for national societies who do not wish to use the Red Cross or the Red Crescent. Under international law, the Red Crystal offers the same protection as the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. The Red Crystal is an attempt to confirm once more neutrality of an global humanitarian organization, surpassing local and regional human political follies and (military) struggles. The universality expressed by the United Nations, International Public Law and the International Court of Justice is symbolized by the Red Crystal, universality as close as it gets.

If you got interested in the Red Cross just have a look on these webpages

The Old Sailor,


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