Sunday, July 30, 2006

Interviewing Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi

Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi is probably the oldest Iraqi blogger. He's in his seventies if I'm not mistaken. He writes an excellent diary where he expresses his thoughts of the current situation in Iraq. We have been friends for a while now. I wrote before about his son's accident. Today, he's my guest for a Q&A session. His answers shades more light on the situation in Iraq. I hope you enjoy his answers as much I did.

Q: First of all, how is your son Nazar doing?

A: Nazar is still in the advanced vegetative state he has been in for the last year and a half. He is still receiving his water and he is fed through a naso-gasrtric tube and his breathing is helped by a tracheostomy. He has lost all mobility and his position should be changed regularly to prevent the development of pressure ulcers [bed sores]. But he sees and hears reasonably well and understands but he cannot respond or communicate.

we have taken him to Amman/Jordan were he is now for more than a year. We took him there for hopefully a better medical care and treatment but nothing happened there and having to care for him in Amman is costing a lot of money.

Q: Had the American army fully investigated Nazar's incident? If no, did they give you any explanation for why they didn't fully investigate the incident>

A: On the afternoon of the shooting I was at the bedside of my son were he was recovering after the emergency surgery he has undergone after the shooting when I noticed three Americans in military gear whom I was told were investigating the incident but they did not talk to me and I didn’t ask them any question and that was the end of the investigation in spite of my persistent enquiries.

Q: How are the hospitals and patients doing with the shortage of doctors in Iraq after many were killed and more left the country to safe their lives?

A: The health system is in shambles. The hospitals are short of every thing, medicine, equipments consumables, everything. There is some private practise which is under very serious pressure, shortages and threats.

Q: Is medicine available at a reasonable price where most people, including the poor, can afford it?

A: As I have just mentioned there is still a bit of private medicine. It is not very expensive but is still beyond the means of the average Iraqi, the old very proud medical system of Iraq is in absolute shambles and is not providing much help.

Q: What does the Iraqi health sector need the most these days?

A: It needs everything because it lacks everything, supplies, equipments, electricity and personnel including doctors.

Q: A question from a Canadian student:
Various sources report an Iraqi unemployment rate that ranges somewhere from 20% to 60%. I wonder how then, especially under the circumstances-- decreased functionality of ordinances due to the war, and the general frustrations of the conflict itself-- ordinary Iraqis are supporting their families? Quite simply, where is the money coming from?

A: The unemployment is actually about 80%. It is a real miracle that people are still surviving and that life still goes on which is something very hard to understand or explain. As to were is the money coming, Iraq is exporting more than two million barrels of crude oil a day but most of the money is going into the pockets of some of the locals and their foreign friends, a very small amount is trickling trot the less advantaged ones.

Q: Another question from the same student:
Are any specific measures being taken to protect families from insurgents or army crossfire?

A: No, absolutely not and practically everyone is a potential target.

Q: How much it cost an average Iraqi family to live a decent life where they can afford most necessities? And does the average employee's salary cover these expenses?

A: Iraqis aren't struggling to live a decent life were they can afford most necessities. They are struggling to live a life with the most basic and essential necessities.

Q: Do you think Maliki's government can establish law and order in Iraq in the next year or two?

A: No, they definitely cannot.

Q: And last, how could ordinary people help the Iraqi people, especially children and women? Is there any NGOs or other organizations that you recommend people donate to for the Iraqi people?

A: I am going to tell you about my own experience with these so called humanitarian organizations. There are few dozens of them in Iraq but I have never got anything from them and I don’t know of any other Iraqi who has been helped by them. It is all politics and propaganda.

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