Download Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives PDF

TitleSecond Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives
File Size4.0 MB
Total Pages367
Table of Contents
Title Page
CHAPTER 1: See You
CHAPTER 2: Wound Construction
CHAPTER 3: Here You Are
CHAPTER 4: Burn the Day
CHAPTER 5: Down from the Moon
CHAPTER 6: Stones on Your Chest
CHAPTER 7: Daylight in the Dark
CHAPTER 8: A Bit of Sport
CHAPTER 9: The Problem of Her Eyes
CHAPTER 10: The Eighth Summit
CHAPTER 11: If You Can Dream
CHAPTER 12: Stream of Sesame Seeds
CHAPTER 13: The Most Eyes on Earth
CHAPTER 14: Three Shirts a Day
CHAPTER 15: The Wave Is Water
CHAPTER 16: Rock Meets Bone
CHAPTER 17: Sir Is Willing
CHAPTER 18: Load Shedding
CHAPTER 19: Burn the Old House Down
CHAPTER 20: Ravishing Beautiful Flowers
CHAPTER 21: Clear Vision for Life
CHAPTER 22: The Singing Bowls of Swayambhunath
CHAPTER 23: Eye Contact
CHAPTER 24: The Road Is Coming
CHAPTER 25: This Is Rwanda
CHAPTER 26: Hands, Eyes, Heart
CHAPTER 27: The Winter Trail
Photo Insert
Author’s Note
Other Books by This Author
About the Author
Document Text Contents
Page 183

Sir Is Willing

When waking a tiger, use a long stick.
—Mao Tse-tung

The war came to Kathmandu on February 13, 1996. The Maoists fired the first
shots of their revolution, launching small, coordinated attacks across the
countryside at police posts, landlords’ homes, and banks that extended loans to
farmers at extortionate rates. They hurled Molotov cocktails at a Pepsi-Cola
plant on the outskirts of Kathmandu, which they’d chosen as a symbol of
capitalist oppression. The explosions left scorch marks on the exterior of the
factory and burned a few outbuildings, but it failed to cut the supply of Pepsi
products to the capital.
Most of the other attacks were also symbolic, targeting the institutions that

oppressed Nepal’s poor while carefully limiting human casualties. Prachanda,
one of the movement’s most charismatic leaders, told the press that the rebels
limited their assaults on the capital because they didn’t want to kill innocent
people or scare the country’s intellectuals away from revolution in one stroke.
It’s equally plausible that they avoided attacking Kathmandu because a poorly
equipped peasant fighting force was reluctant, at first, to challenge a harder
target, since the city was surrounded by military garrisons.
Ruit sympathized with the Maoists’ cause. But he worried that if the violence

grew from symbolic attacks to a bloody campaign, the ambitious expansion he
and Tabin had set in motion would become infinitely more challenging.
The uprising was rooted in the desperate poverty of Nepal’s rural population,

and its power base rose from Rolpa, one of the most economically depressed
districts in the country. Just before the first wave of attacks, the rebels had issued
a declaration of forty demands, including the establishment of a democratic
secular republic, the elimination of caste-and gender-based discrimination, and
free education and health care for all Nepalese. “Nepal had been a feudal system

Page 184

for so long,” Ruit says. “Countries in the region, like India, made tremendous
advances in democracy and public welfare. But in Nepal, despite decades of
protests, nothing changed. Certainly not the inequity between the elites and the
rural people. And the anger had really been building. The country had reached
the burning point.”
The rebels called themselves “Maoists,” which Ruit considered misguided,

since the former Chinese leader had never been popular in Nepal. And history
was increasingly judging Mao’s legacy by the brutal excesses of his Cultural
Revolution, when professionals were forcibly removed from cities to work in
agrarian collectives and brigades of armed children were encouraged to
denounce and even kill the parents, teachers, and other adults they judged to be
enemies of the revolution.
Despite their unfortunate name, Ruit shared many of the goals of Nepal’s new

guerrilla army, and he certainly agreed with their grievances. “Out of that list of
forty demands, I agreed with about thirty-eight of them,” Ruit says. “Everything
except extremism and violence. Most of their demands were about improving
people’s lives.”
Even after downgrading the power of the monarchy in the early 1990s and

taking tentative steps toward democracy, Nepal remained one of the world’s
poorest countries. Despite a healthy tourist industry and the capacity to produce
abundant hydropower, the nation had a crumbling infrastructure and frequent
power outages. Wealth accumulated through foreign investment pooled in the
accounts of corrupt police, politicians, and the Kathmandu elite, rarely trickling
down to communities in the countryside, where 81 percent of Nepal’s population
labored in subsistence agriculture and most lived, as Ruit was acutely aware, as
impoverished peasants.
After dark, one chilly evening late in the winter of 1996, when the children

were tucked under heavy quilts, asleep in their unheated apartment, the People’s
War approached Sanduk and Nanda Ruit via a ringing phone. Sanduk put down
his newspaper and answered it. The voice was female and sounded very young.
The Maoists used idealist young women to communicate in Kathmandu during
the early years of the war. They often wore their hair in the twin braids common
among college intellectuals in Kathmandu that year, a style suggested by the
posters depicting fearless female soldiers—rifle in one hand, the clenched fist of
the other held high—that the Maoists had pasted all over town. That was how
Ruit pictured the woman—a girl really, he judged—on the other end of the line.
“I’m sorry to disturb you so late, Doctor , but there has been a blast.”
“A ?” Ruit said, seeing Nanda draw aside the curtain that separated the

sleeping area and lean into the living room. He nodded toward her, assuring her

Page 366


(with Greg Mortenson)

Page 367


DAVID OLIVER RELIN is the co-author of the number one bestseller
, which has been translated into more than two dozen

languages. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the
Kiriyama Prize and a James Michener Fellowship. Relin died in 2012.

Similer Documents