Com­mit­ment and lead­er­ship

Dubbo Photo News - - Health -

EDITH CAVELL was a pi­o­neer­ing nurse who be­came, trag­i­cally, a war hero. Diana Souhuami is the au­thor of “Edith Cavell” – the book tells how, on Au­gust 20, 1914, she watched as 50,000 Ger­man sol­diers marched into Brus­sels. Noth­ing in her up­bring­ing as a vicar’s daugh­ter in a Nor­folk vil­lage, nor in her nurs­ing ca­reer, had pre­pared her for the dan­gers of the re­sis­tance. Seek­ing the woman within the mar­tyr’s statue, this Cen­te­nary Edi­tion biography draws on the qual­i­ties of de­vo­tion, al­tru­ism and brav­ery that sus­tained Edith Cavell through­out her re­mark­able life.

In Oc­to­ber 1915, af­ter ten weeks in soli­tary con­fine­ment, she was taken from the cells and ex­e­cuted by the Ger­man fir­ing squad. Her crime had been to con­ceal Al­lied sol­diers wounded in bat­tle or sep­a­rated from their reg­i­ments, nurse them, then guide them across the fron­tier into neu­tral Hol­land. One of her fi­nal no­ta­tions was: “I have no fear or shrink­ing. I have seen death so of­ten that it is not strange or fear­ful to me. Think of me as a nurse who tried to do her duty. My love to you all. I am not afraid, but quite happy. Your de­voted Ma­tron.” Edith Cavell, in her own, way was a leader, mo­ti­vat­ing her pa­tients who would cer­tainly have recog­nised that qual­ity, to meet their chal­lenges.

Charles Phillips has writ­ten “50 Lead­ers Who Changed His­tory” and in this he fea­tures his log­i­cal choice of higher pro­file peo­ple, rang­ing from Moses to Steve Jobs, who in their time and in their own way have in­flu­enced those around them. One he lists is Nel­son Man­dela who wrote his own story in “Long Walk to Free­dom”. He is a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of a per­son with an ob­jec­tive in life who, de­fy­ing the odds, achieved the sta­tus his peo­ple de­sired and be­came their for­mal leader. The first page of the book tells: “The only thing my fa­ther be­stowed upon me at birth was a name, Rolih­lakla, which in their lan­guage means ‘trou­ble­maker’.” Man­dela em­u­lated the few great po­lit­i­cal lead­ers such as Lin­coln and Gandhi.

Dur­ing World War I, Aus­tralian mil­i­tary forces on the Western Front were sub­jected to the in­ef­fec­tive bat­tle plans of Bri­tish gen­er­als un­til John Monash rose in com­mand. Roland Perry de­scribes in “Monash the Out­sider Who Won a War” how John Monash turned the first four years of slaugh­ter into suc­cess in sev­eral bat­tles, forc­ing Ger­many to ca­pit­u­late. Perry re­veals the true Monash char­ac­ter as a fam­ily man, engineer, busi­ness­man, lawyer, Re­nais­sance man, teacher and sol­dier. This ti­tle fo­cuses par­tic­u­larly on his mil­i­tary cam­paigns.

An­other ti­tle, “Mae­stro Monash – Aus­tralia’s Great­est Citizen Gen­eral” by Tim Fis­cher, sim­i­larly deals with that as­pect but also cov­ers how Wil­liam Mor­ris Hughes went to lengths to ob­struct the recog­ni­tion of Monash, in par­tic­u­lar his pro­mo­tion to be­ing a Gen­eral – it’s thought that Hughes’ rea­sons were be­cause of Monash’s Jewish her­itage and the like­li­hood he would be­come an op­po­si­tion can­di­date in pol­i­tics.

We can re­late to many of the “50” listed in the Philips’ book. Moses pro­vides the ideal model of a leader and how that qual­ity can emerge. Also in­cluded are Je­sus of Nazareth, Cather­ine the Great, Karl Marx, Napoleon, Mother Theresa and Mar­garet

Man­dela is a won­der­ful ex­am­ple of a per­son with an ob­jec­tive in life who, de­fy­ing the odds, achieved the sta­tus his peo­ple de­sired...

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