Saturday, March 04, 2006

Winning Hearts and Minds

NOTE: I'm taking a break. I'll be back Friday or Saturday. I can still be reached by e-mail for emergencies.

NOTE: Check Mrs. Enwiya's donation post for the latest updates.

Many times I have said American people can win hearts and minds of Iraqis by improving the health system in Iraq among other things. They also can win hearts by helping Iraqi children who need medical treatment not available in Iraq. It's the reason I get excited any time I hear of an Iraqi child who gets medical treatment in America or elsewhere.

The latest story is of 7-year-old Abdul Hakim Ismael from Falluja. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote two weeks ago -- Sorry I just found out today:

Abdul Hakim Ismael, the 7-year-old Iraqi boy maimed and disfigured by an American air strike in 2004, posed for the constant clicking of digital cameras and smiled for television crews while showing a set of tiny teeth out of the corner of his mouth, where his lips contort and a brown scar runs along the side of his cheek.

One big brown eye, full of life, stood in contrast to the left side of his face, where his eyeball is a pale white.

"Look at his face," his father said in an Iraqi Arabic as he wiped discharge from Abdul Hakim's eye after yesterday's news conference. "This surgery is a blessing from God."

Children at his Fallujah school pointed at his face in disgust after he emerged from a hospital in Baghdad...
It was almost two years ago, in the middle of the night, while the entire Hussein family lay in bed, that debris and shrapnel from a misguided air strike demolished the home and changed their lives.

See photos...

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette also reported:

It's too early to know the cost of repairing Abdul Hakim Ismael's face, but this much is certain. The first $50,000 is already covered, because Colleen and Richard O'Toole, of Hampton, clipped a Post-Gazette article about the Iraqi child's plight -- his face was disfigured after an explosion in Fallujah in 2004 -- and sent it to their brother-in-law, A. Raymond Tye, in Braintree, Mass.

Mr. Tye runs the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, whose sole mission is to finance treatment for sick and injured people who would not otherwise receive it...


We don't all have $50,000 to contribute to such causes. But, if you were inspired by this story, I would appreciate it if you could help my friend and fellow Iraqi blogger Najeeb Hanoudi. You probably remember the story of his son's sad incident in Iraq two years ago. A few weeks ago Hanoudi set up a PayPal account and asked for donations to help with his son's medical expenses.

If you want to light a candle in the darkness, this is your chance to do it.

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