Sunday, May 8, 2011
Tragedies Of War, Mothers Day Edition: 6 Years After Watching US Soldiers Kill Her Parents, 11 Year Old 'Tal Afar Girl' Samar Hassan Still Traumatized
Alternate version, OnIslam.netMOSUL, Iraq — Until the past week, Samar Hassan had never glimpsed the photograph of her that millions had seen, never knew it had become one of the most famous images of the Iraq war....
[The photo for Samar, then 5 years old, showed her screaming and splattered in blood, mostly of her parents,]
"Samar, almost 12-year-old now, lives the outskirts of Mosul in a two-story house with four other families, mostly relatives.
Losing her brother Rakan, who died when an insurgent attack badly damaged the house, she currently lives with her older sister, Intisar, and her husband, an unemployed former police officer.
Intisar’s husband, Nathir Bashir Ali, says that the family could not pass the accident psychological trauma, in a country with a failing health system.
“The pains of war have been visited on thousands of Iraqis, but even here Samar’s story stands apart. Three years after her parents were killed, her brother Rakan died when an insurgent attack badly damaged the house where she lives now. Rakan had been seriously wounded in the shooting that killed their parents, and he was sent to Boston for treatment after Mr. Hondros’s photos were published. An American aid worker, Marla Ruzicka, who helped arrange for Rakan’s treatment, was herself later killed in a car bomb in Baghdad.
Intisar’s husband, Nathir Bashir Ali, suspects his house was bombed by insurgents as retribution for sending Rakan to the United States. “When Rakan came back from America, everyone thought I was a spy,” he said.
Samar left school last year because she was too shy and not doing well, Mr. Ali said, although Samar said she would like to return and hoped to be a doctor when she grew up. She leaves the house only on infrequent family excursions and has two friends who visit to play with dolls and chat. She spends her days cleaning, listening to music on her purple MP3 player and watching episodes of her favorite television show, the Turkish soap opera “Forbidden Love,” about lovers named Mohanad and Samar.
“I am Samar,” she said, wearing a long red dress and sitting on the couch next to Mr. Ali. Two of her siblings, also in the car when their parents were killed, sat nearby.
“I’ve taken them many times to the hospital, where they get pills” for emotional problems, Mr. Ali said. “All of them take pills.”
He says Samar’s 8-year-old brother, Muhammad, talks to himself when he is alone.
“When we go out and see a family, they get sad,” he said.
Sometimes he finds the children in a room together, crying.
“When they remember the accident, it’s like they just died.”
Under George W. Bush’s administration, the US invaded Iraq in 2003 to oust the Saddam Hussein regime on claims of possessing weapons of mass destruction, a claim never proved true.
Since the 2003 US invasion, Iraq has plunged into abyss with overlapping civil conflicts that have left tens of thousands of civilians dead... [Much more @ the New York Times]
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."Preamble to the "Mother's Day Proclamation" by Julia Ward Howe.
One of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States.
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