Year-long commemoration of Norman Bethune gets underway in Montreal

Montreal — The Mayor of Montreal, Gerald
Tremblay, former Governor General of Canada, the Right Honorable Adrienne
Clarkson, Concordia University President Judith Woodsworth and the Ambassador of The People’s Republic of China, Lan Lijun, assembled on Oct. 14, 2008, at Place Bethune on the corner of Guy
Street and De Maisonneuve Blvd. West in downtown Montreal, to rededicate the recently restored statue
of Norman Bethune.

The rededication signals the launch of a year-long series of events
commemorating Norman Bethune (1890-1939). Amazing to see all these dignitaries turning out to honour one of Canada’s best-known anti-imperialists and revolutionaries. But whatever their motivations, it is wonderful that Bethune will once again have a place of honour in a city which had a big impact on his life.

The homage to Norman Bethune, which will take place between October 2008 and
November 2009, marks the 70th anniversary of the Canadian surgeon’s departure
from Montreal for China.

Although he was born in province of Ontario and died in China as a doctor serving with the Liberation Army led by Mao Zedong, it was in the city of Montreal than
Norman Bethune lived the longest — for eight years, from 1928 to 1936.

It was during his stay in Montreal that he became a renowned thoracic
surgeon, that his ideas and convictions took shape, guiding him to a profound
commitment towards social and humanitarian causes and membership in the Communist Party of Canada. (Photo by Marion Elissalde)

"We must all learn the spirit of absolute selflessness from him. With
this spirit everyone can be very helpful to each other. A man’s ability
may be great or small, but if he has this spirit, he is already
noble-minded and pure, a man of moral integrity and above vulgar
interests, a man who is of value to the people."
Mao Zedong, In Memory of Norman Bethune


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