Iraqi war veterans await rehabilitation of man

His body was laid down in a transport truck of the Iraqi army after thinking he was dead, yet from another violent attack by the so-called Islamic State (IS) on their military unit at the outskirts of Tal Afar, west of Mosul on February 2017.

His fellow soldiers believed that he was killed after seeing his body torn apart, his hand and leg were amputated, and a rocket shell spread throughout his body, blood everywhere.

In an interview with KUNA, Mohammad Ramadan talked about his ordeal after he fell unconscious among the dead on their way to the field medical unit in the back rows of an aid truck from the battle zone.

“All my strength gathered to whisper to the soldier who was sitting nearby, trying to say that I was still alive, as dead bodies laid next to me,” he said.

When they heard me, they rushed to help and tied my current wounds to stop the bleeding and gave me preliminary treatment,” Ramadan added.

“I thought I was dying or very close to it; I could hear the soldiers talking about his body being transferred to his family, arguing who would contact his father, I could hear their cries for me.” Ramadan, a 26-year-old man, sitting on a small bed in his broken-down home in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar, south Iraq.

Sitting close to a small exhibit with honoring plates and certificates of appreciation.

He added, after treatment the hospital ended up “cutting my leg and hand.” Afterwards, “I wanted to tell all the people that I loved you and I was not able to do that, I was wounded and the media and the general public turned to me, so the opportunity was right, I told them honestly, I love you,” he said.

“Our government is going through a difficult economic situation and is unable today to provide adequate services to hundreds of wounded people,” Ramadan said.

Ramadan also wondered how can we ask the government to provide support and treatment, while at the same time it did not provide enough for families who lost members in the war, children and elderly who were lost in the war.

Pain from injuries maybe is far much less than a family orphaned, or a family that had lost a father figure, or mother, or their only son and did not yet receive any compensation for their loss to overcome difficulties of the day-to-day life.

Ramadan noted that he also has not yet received training and there are no programs for physical therapy, but he explained that some of the privileged are few, those who treat themselves with their own money and engage in private institutes and all according to their financial ability.

However, Ramadan noted religious institutes in the province of Najaf, which provided him with health centers, especially smart human-made body parts, including providing him health and financial support, stressing other soldiers also received the same treatment.

Meanwhile, with regard to the social situation in the country, Ramadan revealed a great disparity in the scene.

Mohammad does not deny there is a great generous action coming from civil society organizations, major tribe elders, political figures and general public figures with different affiliations and references, but such action does not mean that the situation is back to normal.

Ramadan also wondered whether he would be able to find a job in the future, a disabled person today might be looked at as a hero, coming from the battle, but will he be able to find a job tomorrow to take into account his physical and psychological handicap situation, whether his chances would be equal with a fully healthy human being, or even if he were to marry.

Ramadan’s visible condition might be better, because some might see him as a fighter, a hero, who made sacrifices for his homeland, but there are thousands of others whose suffering is a mental condition, such as the Yazidis who found themselves prostitutes, after being in closed communities or who witnessed the killing of their children, by IS or a preacher, or from the demolition of their homes and become displaced in a difficult economic situation, and each one of them has a different story of grief.

On another front, Social Researcher Dr. Nada Al-Abedi said that Iraq fought a vicious war against the most powerful terrorist groups which left thousands of victims, destroyed people, before they destroyed the infrastructure, buildings and stones.

Al-Abedi added Iraq needs years to rid itself of the consequences of the war and its negative effects on society.

Iraq also needs international support and support to help cope with the relatively large recovery costs.

Al-Abedi noted what she described as solidarity and community coordination with the victims, citing the embrace of displaced families in stable communities and the humanitarian support of many of the dead and handicapped.

However, she noted that a real rehabilitation for the victims with proper treatment for them, and for their psychological and physical suffering cannot be limited to the support of the community only, it requires a state sponsor and the capabilities must be greater than Iraqi local institutes, which already suffered from major problems and impotence traumatized for years because of successive wars and the economic deterioration situation.

Al-Abedi said the case needs to be prepared by psychologists, review school curricula, intensify psychological and social programs, and promote cultural and recreational activities that contribute to alleviating the victims and helping them overcome the difficult psychological situation they are experiencing.

The doctor also stressed that such programs require time, effort and considerable costs, she expressed her confidence in the ability of the Iraqi society to recover and rebuild itself.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Director of Social Needs Department in the Iraqi Ministry of Labor Amer Khazal said the Iraqi government does not currently have any accurate statistics on the number of disabled as a result of the war against IS, even centers that cared for disabled and war victims had stopped due to the control by IS in the last three years to of a number of Iraqi cities.

Khazal pointed out that the care for the disabled and victims of the war in Iraq is managed by a higher body called the Authority for People with Disabilities and Special Needs, which includes a board of directors headed by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and membership of representatives from all other Iraqi ministries.

He pointed out that the Authority also sponsors, in coordination with the local administrations in the governorates, 34 institutes of physical disability, deafness, blindness and physical disability, as well as 17 institutes for the mentally retarded, which are distributed throughout the country and provide services to all age groups.

Finally, Iraq, which is being assembled today in preparation for the largest reconstruction process in its history, through Kuwait International Conference, is in dire need of a bigger and more costly program to rebuild the country, and rehabilitate its victims who are being ignored due to the stampede of priorities and the preoccupation of government with wars and difficult economic crises.

Source: Kuwait News Agency