Bernard Kouchner

Angel of Mercy

He is often a vexing and exceptional leader. No. 1 on France's hit parade of political popularity, an iconoclastic and intermittent minister, Bernard Kouchner was first celebrated for fishing out the boat people who fled Communist Vietnam and for bearing sacks of rice on his ministerial shoulder in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. Nelson Mandela once whispered to him, "Thanks for intervening in matters that don't concern you."

Since 1968, in a Biafra facing extermination and famine, he has revolutionized humanitarian assistance. He went to provide medical attention; he ended up bearing witness, becoming a spokesman for the voiceless. He swore...

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