Sadly, we must address another aftermath. Will the seemingly endless tirade of shootings, explosions, death and terror leave in their wake other lingering aftermaths– the pervasive fear of another, maybe more devastating, attack or the fear by and of refugees seeking shelter for themselves and their loved ones?
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Explore This IssueMarch 2016
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There is a lot to fear: Will life return to the normal that we previously enjoyed? Will we be able to congregate in cafés, hearing music and laughter, without wondering if we soon will hear machine gunfire or grenades exploding? Will we be allowed to meet safely for another large conference without barricading the buildings, policing the city block and putting metal detectors at each doorway? Will medical students from abroad or those not conveniently fitting certain profiles or stereotypes be allowed to practice or train in the American medical system without fear of unfair or biased treatment or blunt refusal based on ethnicity, religion or faith?
I pray that we do not move backward, that we remain humane to those in need, that we grieve, yet move on, working for sound solutions to issues that otherwise may divide us. We need to continue seeking strength in both ourselves and others to make us stronger and united against those that seek to impair and destroy our lives. Although there may be monsters in our midst, we cannot overcome the beasts by quietly ceasing to get out and live our lives.
Although admittedly a small, if symbolic, step, I encourage all of us to participate in our Annual Meetings, enlightening our domestic lives with all that our international colleagues have to offer. To that I will raise a glass of fine French wine and hope to see all of you next year!
Katarzyna Gilek-Seibert, MD, is a staff rheumatologist at Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence, R.I., and affiliated with the Boston University School of Medicine. Contact her via email at email@example.com.