Alberto Cairo: There are no scraps of men

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Alberto Cairo’s clinics in Afghanistan used to close down during active fighting. Now, they stay open. At TEDxRC2 (the RC stands for Red Cross/Red Crescent), Cairo tells the powerful story of why — and how he found humanity and dignity in the midst of war.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at

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31 COMMENTS

  1. We are never alone or worthless unless we believe we are. There are no scraps of men. 10:30 is my favorite 

  2. One of the most inspiring people I've ever come across. Thanks Jonathan for making me aware of this amazing man.

  3. Does it really matter what terminology you use? The point is that we all can take lessons from Alberto and that we need more like him.

  4. Truly inspiring . This man , and those he works with are angels . And those scraps of men , like the one he spoke of , well that's the type of person who should be admired . True determination , bravery and hope in the face of something so unbelievable and terrifying . Thes people give hope for humanity as a whole . If only there were more .

  5. I wish we had more men around the world with a heart like his .Good on you and don't give up cause the war sucks.

  6. I agree totally, i just wanted to say that we should lay a bit more emphasis on avoiding wars. I dont see many ted talks in that direction.

  7. When you have this feeling on the back of your neck after watching this, you know it was something amazing

  8. Great story, I'd replay it again.

    Reminds me of the CNVLD…In cambodia, the country still littered with millions of unearthed, undetonated landmines…plenty of people suffer from missing limbs outside the capital.

    This is a national volleyball team that's participated in world cups for the sport and they are people just like the man Alberto helped. From a 'scrap', ashamed of being associated with their family to proud dignified people due to a new job, a new skill.

    standupcambodia. net

  9. This is amazing. I always believed in empowering people and giving them a chance to change there situation instead of giving and giving material and care when they could be caring for them self if they got the right tools. I always been inspired by how Finland rose up to be a leading economy after ww2 not by endless help (help was needed to) but by attitude and empowerment of it's people. More could be said about what can be learned from Finland's story but there is not room.

  10. @hotkonto I can't speak for the red cross, but Medicins Sans Frontieres in Germany (who send me annual business reports) put 88,5 % into projects in 2010. An additional 1,5 % went into reporting on projects. Admin of donations and advertising: 6,3 %. General administration and PR: 1,7 %. Plus, this does not include hundreds and hundreds of hours of volunteer work by highly skilled professionals.

  11. Every human must get his/her dignity. That is a basic need a basic recognition ..which must be put into Maslow's Theory. Thank YOu Alberto Cairo..keep up the fantastic job.

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