Saturday, September 5, 2015

Inventing "small" Penicillin

Martin Henry Dawson did not discover penicillin or Horizontal Gene Transfer or DNA as the location of the genes and all the other discoveries that his memory is usually associated with.

What he did invent (but not "discover") and what he should be remembered for and honored for, is "small" penicillin.

In a war of mass bombings and gassings and burnings led by the Bigs and fought over values exalting the Big, Dawson dared suggest that the small at all levels of Life are at least as worthy of life and dignity as the Big.

In 1940, he said that primitive penicillin produced by the small penicillium was good enough, particularly during a horrific global war of dead and dying, to start its mass production now and to start saving lives now.

And he acted upon his belief, on October 16th 1940, almost 75 years ago.

He worked to save the lives of everyone, not just the Big and the Best and most Fit and most A1.

Particularly because in a war against the Axis that was at least moral as it was material, he felt we must save the weak, the unfit, the 4Fs during the conflict itself not just after, lest we match the Nazis stroke by stroke as they rode a fast train down to Hell.

Primitive 'good enough' penicillin, produced by the small of the world for the small of the world, as well as the Big and the medium sized, now !

The assembled Big of the Anglo-American medical elite wanted wartime penicillin kept as a secret weapon of war, not as a medicine to save lives of all and sundry.

But the dying doctor Dawson (I did mention he was dying all through this unequal battle didn't I ?) won out, when the world's population outvoted their leadership with their voices.

Today wartime-produced penicillin is still regarded as history's best known and best loved medicine.

But Penicillin's moral dignity was a near run thing - it could just as easily be remembered today has being right up there with the world's collective refusal to help Europe's Jews escape Hitler as one of the great moral evils of the Allied side of WWII....

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