Mariana's Reviews > Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights and the New War on the Poor

Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer
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Apr 29, 10

Read in April, 2010

I so enjoyed this amazing, angry, revolutionary, and thought-provoking book based on the premise: each human holds the right to effective health care. Paul Farmer practices what he writes for at least 27 years.


"To act as a physician in the service of poor or otherwise oppressed people is to prevent, whenever possible, the diseases that afflict them but also to treat and, if possible, to cure. So where’s the innovation in that? How would a health intervention inspired by liberation theology be different from one with more conventional underpinnings? Over the past two decades, Partners In Health has joined local community health activists to provide basic primary care and preventive services to the poor communities in Mexico, Peru, United States, and especially, Haiti offering what we have termed “pragmatic solidarity.” Pragmatic solidarity is different from but nourished by solidarity per se, the desire to make common cause with those in need. Solidarity is a precious thing: people enduring great hardship often remark that they are grateful for the prayers and good wishes of fellow human beings. But sentiment is accompanied by the good and services that might diminish unjust hardship. Surely it is enriched. To those in great need, solidarity without the pragmatic component can seem like so much abstract piety."

Pathologies of Power
by Paul Farmer (2005. U of California Press)
Page 145-146
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