“My Soul is Young”: An Encounter with Dr. Gerhard Freilinger

“My Soul is Young”: An Encounter with Dr. Gerhard Freilinger

Gerhard Freilinger is not your average doctor. He has led a life that is immediately enviable, but at the same time, one that has called for a great deal of courage. Having lived through wars and being exposed with the effects of conflict – both tangible and intangible – Dr. Freilinger has seen every side of both guns and operating tables in a whirlwind that has spanned seven decades. Nareg Seferian caught up with the man at the Kurdistan Regional Government representation in Vienna.

“I was born in Upper Austria, in Linz [in 1927]. I became a soldier at the age of fifteen,” Dr. Freilinger recalls. But his military career during the Second World War did not last long, as he ended up as a prisoner of war in Yugoslavia at just 17 years old. “I was in very, very bad condition after two and a half years of prison in Yugoslavia. I came home in 1946, very heavily damaged. My soul was sick, my heart was sick.”

Interested in being a doctor at a young age, Dr. Freilinger recalls how, at 12, he told his parents, “I would like to see this hospital [in Linz], but not only the operating room.” This was surprising to a family of lawyers. It was during his recovery in Salzburg, which took more than a year, where he decided to take on medicine as a profession. He finished with his schooling and then studied medicine at Innsbruck, followed by a fellowship in the United States. Notably, he ended up working in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery, helping people deal with the physical scars of war. Continue reading

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Media In Armenia: Fast Connections, Slow Change

The media in Armenia suffers from the same legacy as in much of the post-communist world. Although the Internet has shaken things up in the past few years, media independence is still in the making.

Media In Armenia: Fast Connections, Slow Change

As with most of the post-Soviet world, the Armenian press did not have much to go on in terms of a real journalistic tradition after the USSR collapsed. There may have been a lot of publications in the Armenian world-within the country and in the organized diaspora outside of it-but as far as the new Republic of Armenia was concerned, its journalists and broadcasters were coming out of decades of censorship when independence came in 1991. That legacy can be felt to this day, as numerous media outlets clearly toe the line of national policy, while others go to the other extreme of spreading scandals. Very few have the courage, the resources, and the professionalism to carry out objective and meaningful reporting. Continue reading