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Zeina Kassem's Speech - Book Signing “Crossing” New York

2 June 2017

It is a great honor for me to be hosted tonight at the Lebanese Consulate in New York and to have my book, "Crossing", introduced to English-speaking readers.

I would like to express my thanks and my deep gratitude to the Consul General of Lebanon in New York, Mr. Wagdi Ramadan, the renowned diplomat who holds high Lebanon’s banner and whose tremendous efforts were key to organizing this gathering.

My heartfelt thanks also go to Mrs. Venesa Raphael Ramadan and to all of you present here tonight for taking interest in human experiences and their importance in the lives of individuals and society.

"Crossing" is an attempt to exit the cave of pain and start not only an internal dialogue, but also a dialogue with the community. It’s an act of sharing with the people a personal humane experience that has become part and parcel of our daily life in Lebanon.

The untimely departure of loved ones is painful; however, "Crossing" has overcome the traditional to establish a new relationship with the community.

"Crossing" is not the recording of daily pains; it is a leap from the state of capitulation to a state of confrontation, refusing to succumb to fate and choosing daily struggle instead; a struggle to save people’s lives through Roads for Life, the Talal Kassem Fund for Post Trauma Care.

Roads for Life is a mission of hope and a strong belief in the value of human life. We at Roads for Life endured our deep wound and in less than a year started the rescue training sessions with the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)course addressed to Emergency Room Doctors in public and private hospitals all over Lebanon. (ATLS) was followed by a new course addressed to nurses, the advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) and paramedics represented by the Lebanese Red Cross.

We have completed 6 years of diligent work setting the foundation for a culture of rescue and saving victims of severe injuries in the Golden Period, a period that is widely recognized and reinforced.

Since our course of action was one of continuous uninterrupted training, this prompted the American Board of Surgeons to present us with the award dedicated for countries who have completed five consecutive years of rescue training for doctors, nurses and paramedics.

Roads for Life did not stop at that point. During its course of action, it found out that the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces are in dire need of equal training to rehabilitate their rescue teams and enhance their skills to meet international standards.

This is how Roads for Life Introduced the TCCC(Tactical Casualty Combat Care) course that targets army soldiers on the battlefield.

Roads for Life with the help of a specialized international team of trainers conducted the “Train the Trainer”, course addressed to Lebanese Army soldiers, in Cyprus. Today, we are completely uptime to start training the Lebanese Army.

Our project with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces began with the “First Responder”, a course that started for the first time in January 2017.

We are hoping to graduate approximately 100 trained first responder every year. Since the first responder is the first person to reach the site of accident, he needs to be qualified to rescue.

These training sessions revealed to us the existence of many loopholes and needs in both institutions when it comes to rescue care. Most notable is the rescue kit. Thank God, we have been able so far to provide 300 hundred such kits to the Lebanese Army deployed on all combat fronts.

At the moment, we are seeking sources of funding for similar rescue kits to provide for the Internal Security Forces. Thank you all for your time and presence.
Zeina Kassar Kassem