Xavier Emmanuelli

Prelude to the Symphony of the New World Publication date : May 1, 1998

‘We live in apocalyptic times. But we should not lose hope: it could be said that the end of the age of despair has dawned. This is the project that I wish to undertake in the following pages: based on what I have seen from the various vantage points that the hazards of my life and career have offered me, I will attempt to describe those experiences that strengthened my intuition that we are on the brink of an apocalypse.Yet the end of one world seems to me to be a prelude announcing the coming of a new world. Whenever I have witnessed humanity’s limits through its experience of suffering and disaster, I have felt—each time more strongly—that those moments can serve as a springboard. Drama becomes peace, the darkness gives way to light, madness turns into wisdom, fury or fear become calm, and anxiety and despair are transformed into unconditional love and solidarity. A catastrophe can play an initiatory role.’ Xavier Emmanuelli, who is a trained anaesthetist, founded Médecins sans frontières in 1971. From 1995 to 1997 he was France’s Minister of Emergency Humanitarian Action. He has been a casualty doctor and a prison doctor, and has also worked with drug addicts and among the destitute. He is the president of social emergency medical services in Paris (Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence, or SAMU). He is the author of Au Vent du Monde (1990), Les Prédateurs de l’Action Humanitaire (1991), Dernier Avis avant la Fin de Monde (1994; winner of the Prix de Littérature Catholique, in 1995).