Author: Mona Hanna-Attisha
|What the Eyes Don’t See (2018) is an account of the Flint Water Crisis and how it was brought to attention by pediatrician and activist Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha along with researchers and community leaders saving the children of Michigan.|
What the Eyes don’t see is a story of a disaster turned into a miracle. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha uncovered that the children were being exposed to lead through the water in their taps. She took this battle while facing all the political backlash and earned the children their justice. Her history of activism and devotion to children as a pediatrician fueled her to uncover the horrors that were prevalent in Flint, Michigan. This struggle also uncovered how the state had been covered with layers of lies and racism over years.
What the Eyes Don’t See Summary Key Points
The Flint Water Crisis
If I ask you how important it is to drink water for us? You’d say it’s extremely important and present me with multiple examples. We need water for our metabolism, the vitality of our organs depend on it, it is important for hydration, etc, etc. But how often do you think about the quality of water you are drinking? Well, you would not be thinking much about it if your government was masking the fact that you are drinking low-quality and poisoning water in a good way. It would probably go unnoticed by the common masses.
This is the same horror that the people of Flint were going through in 2014. The water had a huge quantity of lead in it and the people of Flint were drinking it daily. Let me explain to you here that consuming lead in any way can be extremely damaging to your health. It can lead to the failure of organs, slower down brain functioning, paralyze your muscles and even lead you to your end.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha however as the director of a pediatric residency program at the medical center in Flint did beyond what she could do. She made a vow to do whatever to save them from drinking the filthy water.
The Reaction of the Government of Flint
Well, they did not accept what they had done to their citizens. Unfortunately, we live in a world where leaders and politicians do the best they can do to get rid of the blame. Like the ones in power, the government did everything it could to defend itself. As Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha set out to find out how this started. She found out that the government or to be precise the emergency manager changed the source of Flint’s drinking water knowing that the new source did not have adequate quality. They stopped paying to get clean water from Lake Huron and instead directed the water routes from the river of Flint. This is the same river that had been storing the waste of chemicals and other industrial components for a decade. The water was neither tested nor purified. Instead, it was directed to the water routes of the city.
This went unnoticed because the citizens did not notice much change. You will ask why? Well because you cannot taste lead in drinking water. Unlike other contaminants that make water taste like something metallic, acid, or foul, lead is entirely flavorless. Thus it can go unnoticed when you are drinking it.
The Evidence Fell Into the Hands of a Right person
Imagine being a mother of two young girls and the director of a pediatric residency program at a medical center in a city. You are dealing with children every day from a child as small as one day old to children up to twelve years old. The maternal and professional instinct of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha led her to a shred of evidence from the office of the EPA in Chicago. This memo showed that the water in Flint had high amounts of lead in it and that the government was covering it up. Her doubts were further proved when she researched the medical data of children from past years. She found a spike in the quantity of lead in their blood. These reports belonged to the duration after the water supply had been changed.
The Solution of the Problem the Eyes Did not see
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha took the blood samples and used them as statistical proof of the heinous act committed by the Government. She started talking and discussing the matter with the people in power, her assistants at work, and people like Marc Edwards who worked as an environmental engineer. Dr. Mona started her uphill battle by fighting for the families. She knew not everyone could afford bottled water. People in Flint were drinking tap water and everyone used tap water for bathing their kids. Her first step was announcing the results of her findings in a press conference so that she could bring attention to the matter. The conference however garnered backlash.
Soon she realized that to make her plan work and get the children justice she had to make the right connections, meet fundraises, and gain public support. The Detroit free press ran stories backing up her findings, people came out to support her. Finally, her voice was heard in the bigger offices.
What the Eyes Don’t See Quotes
“It was about people and community. That’s what science is supposed to be about—not an academic exercise for the ivory tower, or racking up publications, grants, and offers of tenure. It’s about using the tools and technology available to make lives better, no matter what articles of faith obstruct the path.” –Mona Hanna-Attisha
“The world shouldn’t be comprised of people in boxes. Minding their own business. It should be full of people raising their voices, using their power and presence, and standing up for what’s right. Minding one another’s business.” –Mona Hanna-Attisha
What the Eyes Don’t See Summary Review
What the Eyes Don’t See is a story of perseverance that narrates how one person can create change that can impact the whole city for the better. It inspires you to do better and look for ways to reach out to your community. The book is a heartfelt anecdote that uncovers social and health issues pushing all of its readers to work towards a healthy and bright future together.
To Whom I Would Recommend What the Eyes Don’t See Summary
- To the politician who wants to understand the issues of the public from their perspective.
- Social issue activists who want to stay motivated and loyal to their causes.
- And to anyone who thinks that a single person is not enough to bring change.