Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A very fitting tribute to a remarkable scholar of extraordinary conscience--Deborah "Misty" Gerner

Misty’s ethical fiber, her sheer stubbornness about right and wrong, and her physical courage in face of a horrendous enemy describe a colleague who did not know the meaning of surrender or even acquiescence. We shared a common foe, so perhaps I had some inkling of what she was facing.  When we spoke occasionally we did not talk about disease.  Frankly, while friends and family mean well, all too often the patient wishes for a recording device that would play the latest medical bulletin.  Instead, we talked about the Middle East, about politics and scholarship.  Misty told me a couple of times that that she was grateful that I addressed her as a serious scholar not as a pitiable patient. 
Once though, in a garden in Istanbul, we spoke about death, about curtailed dreams, about all that will remain incomplete when we leave.  Misty was angry that her time was short. I told her then, as I repeat here now, that she had marked the path for others to follow and that that was a job well done.  She paused for a moment and then she told me about plans to return to the West Bank.  There is nothing incomplete about the life model that is Misty’s legacy, nothing at all.

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