President's Message

SCA Newsletter - October 2001

The Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists is an Anti-terrorist Organization

When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.
-- Ethiopian proverb

Only a short time has elapsed since the last Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists President's Message, but so much has changed in the world. The SCA joins the many other societies and nations throughout the world in grieving the senseless injury and loss of life on September 11, 2001. First and foremost, our condolences and prayers go out to the thousands of people across our country and throughout the world whose lives were tragically touched, either directly or indirectly, by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One of our respected past SCA presidents from Canada, J. Earl Wynands, O.C., M.D., writes, "There has been a great outpouring of sympathy and compassion in Canada for our American brothers and sisters. More than 100,000 people assembled on Parliament Hill to demonstrate the deep feeling and sympathy we have for our best friends in your hour of need". Similar deep sentiments have been received from across the globe and show the deep worldwide concern for this American tragedy.

The SCA is an international society. Even though the majority of our members are from the United States, our membership comes from some 72 countries. As the loss of life is being tallied, it has been noted that people from over 60 countries lost their lives in these terrorist attacks. It has occurred to me, as I ponder the "why" of this tragedy, that terrorist movements often arise due to isolation from tolerance and open discussion. Rigid, intolerant teachings, presented in the framework of unquestionable authority, without the benefit of free exchange of ideas and viewpoints, leads to the development of the myopic mindset in which terrorism can breed. Whether the terrorist ideology is based on politics, religion, economics, race or the myriad of other issues that humans use to separate themselves from one another, open and honest exploration of different ideas must be the basis of society to prevent the extremist viewpoints from overtaking the rational ones.

While the war against terrorism is certainly being waged by our governments on several fronts, it is a time for each of us to ask what role, small or large, can we play in combating these horrible atrocities. As an international society, the SCA encourages membership from all nations, from all religions, from all races, and from all ethnic origins. When the SCA was first founded in 1979, a key desire of the founders was that our Society be inclusive of any and all anesthesiologists anywhere with an interest in cardiac, thoracic, and vascular anesthesia. Our interest and professional love of our specialty transcends any other artificial divisions between our members. Tolerance and understanding go hand in hand as we join together to educate ourselves about our real enemies _ disease and death. Therefore, by being united in our battle against medical disease, the commonality that exists among us as humans is emphasized and our differences are diminished.

I believe that professional societies, which stretch across the world, particularly medical societies such as our own, do have an important role in promoting world peace and in fighting terrorism. Our Society is an open one with the encouragement of participation and the exchange of ideas. Though the primary exchanges are on the levels of medical education and research, there are also the vital friendships and collegial relationships that inevitably occur when people get together. These important exchanges do more to emphasize how similar we all are and how fragile our hold is on life in this world. Our interactions help to bring understanding and tolerance of differences that exist among all of us. Though we may seem like an insignificant player in the drama of international relations, it is through personal interactions fostered by participation in societies such as the SCA, that strong, positive relationships can occur superceding political, religious and cultural differences. If enough people can find the commonality that we have found, then the barriers of isolationism that breed extremism can be eliminated. Each of us, by being a part of the international family of physicians is contributing in no small way to building bridges across nations and cultures. These bridges, built on many levels, in many sizes, spanning large gaps and small ones, are what hold the world together and combat the twisted, narrow-mindedness that enables terrorists to exist.

The officers and staff of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists join with our members, America, and the world in mourning the senseless loss of life on September 11th. We must keep our minds and hearts open and continue to be bridge-builders…the bridge to the future depends on it!

Roger A. Moore, MD

President SCA

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