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The 99: a story on health, cross-cultural cooperation and acceptance in times of crisis
  1. Miquel Porta
  1. Correspondence to Professor Miquel Porta, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica (IMIM), Facultat de Medicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Carrer del Dr Aiguader 88, E-08003 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; mporta{at}

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Much as the format of the article that we publish on pages 293–2961 is highly unusual in academic journals, we will all immediately recognise, I trust, that it has long been a common format in our lives and, more importantly, in the lives of our populations—and not just among the youngest citizens: we all grew up reading comics and immersed in cultures with powerful images and visual vehicles of communication, socialisation and education.

The central context of the story we publish is a crisis, a relatively small one in scale; we might see the problem as an individual accident, a clinical crisis.1 Yet the story plays out in a wide context, and as something universal—as in a fire, flood… Or as in the global, systemic crisis most of us presently live in.

In a shared crisis, the members of The 99 come alongside the children and villagers without any fanfare.1 They just show up and begin helping. Individuals could shy away from them or be startled, but would immediately go back to the task at hand, even while watching Jabbar et al out of the corner of their eyes.1

The explicit messages of the story are: trust can be built through a shared crisis. A shared crisis commonly overwhelms a learnt response in the …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.