The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Book Review:
What the Eyes Don’t See

Aug 6, 2018

A new page-turner book is out. It’s about Dr. Mona, a pediatrician, who – with the help of her friends – got state officials to admit there was a lead-in-the-water problem in Flint, Michigan in 2015.

“What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City” is Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s life story. It is gripping. It is one of the many stories that need to be told about the Flint Water Crisis.

“The eyes don’t see what the mind doesn’t know,” is a quote Dr. Mona uses. She is both a doctor and a teacher of medical students. In her teacher role, she stresses the importance of a knowledge of science, history, racism, and class oppression – in order to understand the world around you. Dr. Mona put that philosophy into practice. The moment she learned that authorities were lying about the water being safe in Flint, Michigan, she knew she had to act.

The story of her fight to expose the truth is part scientific detective story and part organizing handbook. The book makes it clear that a losing fight – the fight in Washington, D.C. against lead poisoning of water in the early 2000's – helped lay the foundation for success at exposing the truth in Flint. It also shows that ordinary people were amazing in their strategies to prove Flint had a water crisis and that immediate action was needed.

Dr. Mona also explains that a tradition of working class fight began in 1937 in Flint with the Flint Sit-Down Strike. Habits of resistance from then continue to today. Dr. Mona’s hope is that being organized today will wrench enough money out of greedy hands so Flint’s children who were hurt by the water can be supported and build resilience. It is a very interesting book to read.