Reviews PERSONAL VIEW

Poppies in Kosovo, gerbera daisies in Basra

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7409.297 (Published 31 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:297
  1. Celia Duff, deputy regional director of public health (celia.duff@dial.pipex.com)
  1. East of England Regional Public Health Group

    This time the gerbera daisies will evoke memories for me. Last time it was poppies—deep blood red poppies (BMJ 1999;318: 1707). Back then, in May 1999, the poppies lit the Macedonian fields outside the refugee camps—camps full of Kosovar Albanians fleeing ethnic cleansing. A splash of colour, incongruous amidst the misery of people who had lost everything. The daisies—pastel shades, covered in dust, struggling to survive without water—symbolise for me that there is hope amidst neglect.

    I found them in a corner of the palace garden. The palace is magnificent: huge, high ceilinged rooms, miles of corridor, marble floors, and surrounded by a high wall and protected by acres of landscape that deny the outside. Opulence and gross extravagance on a scale you could not imagine, reflecting great wealth and self importance. Strange that the man for whom the palace was built liked the same flowers as I do.

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