Uncle Reggie Stories URS: What’s the Red Cross?
Reggie 叔叔的故事:何谓红十字?(Sonic 翻译)

 

Photo 1: Red Cross over my grandfather’s hospital in China.
图1: 在中国我祖父医院的红十字

I’ve asked many people about what they know about the Red Cross, and the usual response is “it’s that ambulance that comes to save people.” There’s a lot more to that story, I have found.

何谓红十字我问过不少的人,最普遍的回答是:红十字就是救护车赶来救人的。在我看来,应该有更多的含义。

When I started my medical mission in China 20 years ago, I noticed that all the medical clinics and hospitals had the Red Cross sign very prominently displayed. So I asked a local doctor “is this related to the Christian faith?” He looked quite surprised, and he said “no, of course not; it just means a medical facility.” In fact I began to realize that there were so many crosses in China, all over the place, because any medical facility or any ambulance basically had a Red Cross, and nobody really knew of any connection with the Christian cross. One hospital we visited in a small town in Yunnan actually had five crosses, including a huge one over the entrance of the hospital, although it wasn’t colored red in that case.

二十年前,当我在中国开始医疗服务的时候,我注意到所有的门诊和住院部都有非常显眼的红十字标志。我问一个当地医生:“这个与基督信仰有关吗?”,他一脸的错愕,说:“不,当然没有关系,这只是表明这是一个医疗机构”。我开始注意到在中国有非常多的红十字标识,任何一家医疗单位或任何一辆救护车基本上都有一个红十字。但无人真正知晓其与基督信仰的关系。我们参观过的云南小镇上的一个医院居然有五个十字标识,其中一个大的十字结构矗立在医院大门口之上,尽管这个标识当时并没有漆成红色。

One year I had the opportunity to visit my old ancestral village, where there was the only government hospital, clearly with a Red Cross over the entrance. I realized that there was even more to the story: the hospital originally was a mission hospital, where my grandfather was the hospital director. In essence, it was basically a Christian hospital, and so the cross was really totally appropriate. In fact, I began to find out that nearly all the major hospitals in China had their beginnings as mission hospitals, which makes the connection with the cross even more understandable.

某一年我有机会去拜访我祖上的村庄,那里只有一家公立医院,其大门口上方有一个显眼的红十字。这里面有很多意味深长的故事:这个医院起初是教会医院,我的祖父当时是这家医院的院长。它的本质是基督教医院,所以红十字是恰如其分的。后来我发现中国大多数医院均发端于教会医院,所以这些医院的红十字是理所当然的。

During World War II, my father was a newly graduated doctor, serving in Hong Kong and China. He told me later about the worldwide convention of a Red Cross painted on the rooftop of hospitals. Military aircraft from either side would not bomb hospitals with a cross on the roof, knowing that they were medical facilities and were caring for patients. I was born in such a facility (the Queen Mary hospital of Hong Kong) during a time of war in Asia, since my father was on staff there. I’m glad there was such a convention! However in today’s wars, especially in the Middle East, there’s not that much respect given to traditional conventions and we see Red Cross workers captured and even beheaded.

二战期间,我父亲是新近毕业的医生,在香港和大陆服务。他后来告诉我当时有一个国际惯例,在医院的屋顶漆上红十字,交战双方的战机不会轰炸屋顶上有十字标识的医院,知道那是医院,正在救治病人。我正是在亚洲战时出生在这样一家医院(香港玛丽女王医院),我父亲恰好供职于这家医院。我很庆幸有这样一个国际公约!但是现在战争,特别是在中东,不再顾及传统公约,我们看到红十字工作人员被抓捕甚至被处死。

Photo 2: Cross over a Korean church: imagine if all the cross neon lights are on in a city, which is what actually happens.
图2: 韩国教堂的十字架:试想全城的十字氖灯全都点亮,会是什么情况呢?

Some people have asked me “what is the real connection between the Red Cross and the Christian cross?” Actually there is a particularly interesting story. Two Swiss men first started the Red Cross organization, to provide help to wounded soldiers on the battlefield, which then expanded to helping distressed people in need of medical care all over the world, a very remarkable goal. The Swiss flag itself is a white cross on a red background, representing the Christian heritage of their country. So they came up with the bright idea to invert the colors, to make the Red Cross on a white background, as a symbol of helping the wounded in need.

人们问我“红十字和基督信仰的十字有什么真正的关联呢?”这里有一个相当有趣的故事。两个瑞士人首创了红十字机构,去帮助战场上的伤兵,后来扩展到帮助全世界需要医疗救助的落难人群,这真是了不起的工作。瑞士国旗是红底白十字,代表他们国家基督信仰的传承。他们灵机一动,转换颜色,白底红十字,作为帮助苦难者的标志。

After I realized the connection, whenever I went to Western Europe or the United Kingdom, I started looking carefully at their flags, and realized that there is nearly always a symbol of the cross. In the UK Union Jack, there are actually three crosses: the cross of St. George for England, a red cross; the cross of St. Andrew, a diagonal red cross; the cross of St. Patrick for Ireland (now Northern), a diagonal white cross. Most Western European countries basically have some sort of Christian background, and this is a reminder of that heritage, which seems to have been quite neglected or forgotten in today’s world.

自从我了解了这个关系后,每次我去西欧或者英国,我总是非常仔细的查看他们的国旗,总是能找到十字标识。英国国旗上有三个十字:红色的St. George 十字代表英格兰;St. Andrew十字是斜行的红十字;St. Patrick 十字是斜行的白十字,代表爱尔兰(现在叫北爱尔兰)。大多数西欧国家基本上都带有某种程度的基督信仰背景,国旗上的图案正是提醒人们这种传承,而现今社会忽视了或者已经忘记了这种传统。

In Asia, I have flown into South Korea many times, and every time as I was landing in one of the major cities, one of the most startling views to me was to see many purple neon crosses on top of churches over the entire city. I realized that this had to be a coordinated effort, and a reflection of the modern day heavy Christian influence now in the country, estimated to be 40% Christian, one of the highest rates in Asia. As a side note, it turns out that medical facilities in South Korea actually have green crosses, so as not to confuse them with churches!

在亚洲,我无数次飞抵南韩,每次降落在某个大城市,全城教堂上方的无数的紫色氖十字架让我感到非常震撼。我认识到这是协调一致的努力,同时反映了基督信仰对这个国家现代社会的深远影响,估计基督徒总数占人口比例达到40%,在亚洲是比较高的比例。另一方面,南韩的医院现在使用的是绿色十字,就不会和教堂混淆。

However, in going to the Middle East, I found the opposite, that even the Red Cross in the Red Cross organization was not appreciated, and most of the countries had decided to change the symbol to a Red Crescent; even though it is the same organization. Symbols really do matter, and some areas of the world are more sensitive than others.

但是在中东,恰恰相反,甚至红十字在红十字组织里也不被待见,很多国家决定改变其标志为红新月(土耳其红十字会的标志),尽管其为同一组织。红十字标识是重要的,但在世界一些地区其比另外地区更敏感。

Photo 3: So what is this in Korea, a church or a clinic? (answer: it is not an ecclesia) The color doesn’t help.

图3: 在韩国这是教堂还是医院?(答案:这不是教堂)这颜色没有帮助。

Indeed, the implications of the Red Cross are much more wonderful than we might assume. The main implication is that the Red Cross actually does represent the cross of Christ, which to all Christians is a symbol of salvation and hope, because of the core belief that Christ died on the cross to save the world.

事实上红十字的寓意比我们所想象的要丰富多彩得多。其主要的寓意是红十字代表了基督受难的十字架,对所有的基督徒而言它是救赎和希望的象征,因为基督徒都坚信基督为拯救全世界而死在十字架上。