By Luke Wilcox
I am writing to you about Ikhlas Muhassan Abbas, a young Iraqi teacher who was hit by an errant missile in August of 2004 (see her statement below). In order to save her life, the doctor had no choice but to amputate her left leg and right foot. As a result, she became disabled and confined to a wheel chair at a very young age. She lost her teaching job, a profession she loves, and became dependent on her family. The unexpected incident shattered her dreams of taking part in teaching today’s Iraqi generation and contributing to its better future.
Statement from Ikhlas
اني المواطنة العراقية اخلاص محسن عباس احمل الشهادة الجامعية بكالوريوس كلية التربية / جامعة الكوفة .My name is Ikhlas Muhassan Abbas, I am an Iraqi woman and I graduated from the University of Kufa with a bachelor’s degree in education.
تعرضت لحادث مؤلم بسقوط قذيفة امريكية على ارجلي اثناء الاحداث التي حدثت بين القوات الامريكية وجيش المهدي في النجف المصادف 5/ 8/ 2004 اخترقت سطح الدار دون ان تنفجر وأنا في حينها كنت نائمة في فراشي ليلا ونقلتني من عالم الى اخر مبدلة مسار حياتي ومستقبلي فأصبحت غير قادرة على السير والحركة ولم ادر ماحدث ففتحت عيني وأذا بي في المستشفى بين الموت والحياة . I experienced a traumatic event during a conflict between U.S. forces and the Mehdi Army in Najaf on August 5, 2004, where a shell tore into my home and did not explode. At the time, I was sleeping in my bed. It took me from one world to another, altering the course of my life and my future. I awoke in the hospital, unable to move or walk. I opened my eyes and I did not know what happened, or if I was alive or dead…!
وبعد معاناة من الالم وفترات طويلة في غرف العمليات اجريت لي اثنا عشرة عملية جراحية بين فترة واخرى وقد بترت ساقي اليسرى من فوق الركبة واليمنى من القدم وبعد كل المعاناة والالام حصلت على اطراف صناعية الا انها غير مريحة ولا استطع التحرك والتعايش معها . I suffered from pain and long periods of time in the operating room. I had 12 surgeries in which finally my left leg had to be amputated, as well as my right foot. After all the suffering and pain, I received prosthetic limbs but it is not convenient and I am unable to move or live with them.
. وحصلت على كرسي متحرك , وجلوسي عليه يشعرني بالعجز فبت اكرهه ! اذ انه يشعرني بعدم تحقيق أي حلم من احلامي وخاصة التعيين في احد المدارس الحكومية لانني كنت انتظر بفارغ الصبر من بعد التعب والسنوات المرهقة ان اتخرج واتعين واعيش حياتي واقطف ثمار التعب ,I got a wheelchair, but sitting in it makes me feel disabled. I hate it. It makes me feel like I can’t achieve any of my dreams, particularly becoming a teacher in one of the public schools. I waited eagerly after years of exhausting work to graduate and live my life, and reap the fruits of my hard work.
الا ان سهام الزمن الغـــادر قد اصابت الثمرة وهي في علو مكانها في شجرة العمر والسنين واذا بها قد تناثرت وسط تلك الخلافات التي ما جنينا منها غير الالم والخسائر التي لا تعوض بثمن وتخلف الكثير من المصابين والمعاقين امثالي But the treacherous arrow of time has struck the fruit of the tree of life at the height of its ripening… scattering it amongst the conflicts of which we gained nothing but pain which can not be compensated with a price for those, injured and disabled, like myself.
فأنا اناشد من قادر على مساعدتي ان يمد يد العون لي ليخرجني مما انا فيه وتعديل سير الحياة وان شاء الله ما اطلبه ليس مستحيلا كل ما ابتغيه هو ان لا تنسوني لانني ذقت مرارة الحياة كثيرا كثيرا وأنا في او حياتي ,فأنا بحاجة الى اطراف اصطناعية جيدة لامارس حياتي لاكون مواطنة نافعة فما زالت في داخلي طاقة كامنة لم استثمرها بعد , ولو لا الحادث اللعين لقطعت اشواطا في حياة المجتمع وادعوا من الله مع التماسكم ان لا تمروا على امري هذا مرور الكرام ولكم مني جزيل الشكر والامتنان .I appeal to the capable to extend me a helping hand and change my course of life, God willing. What I ask is not impossible to achieve, don’t forget me. I am in the peak of my life yet I have tasted the bitterness of life too much. I need good artificial limbs to live as a good citizen. I still have so much internal potential which has not been invested yet, despite the dreadful incident. I request that you not allow this to pass unnoticed. My sincere thanks and gratitude.
Medical facility providing services
The Winkley Company has been in business providing orthotics and prosthetics since 1888. They have six locations in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. (see www.Winkley.com) They employ 20 therapists. Their President and CEO is Gregory S. Gruman, a certified prosthetist who has generously offered to fit Ikhlas with bilateral prostheses so that she can once again become ambulatory. Her injury resulted from a missile which destroyed part of her home. Previously the substandard devices she was given were too painful for her to use so that she has been primarily wheelchair-bound for 6 years.
With great effort she has accomplished a bachelors degree and dreams of becoming a public school teacher and would like to resume a more normal life. Since April 2010 Greg has reviewed x-rays sent by email and the patient’s medical history recorded in Iraq. He is confident that his modern methods and materials will achieve better results and will warrant the effort for her to receive treatment in the US.
Greg is offering his expert services to fit and design new limbs as well as initiate her training and strengthening so that she can walk once more. The design, production and practice will require between 4-6 weeks. Upon return to her home in Iraq she will continue strengthening until she is fully mobile. Ikhlas will be treated at the Golden Valley clinic and reside with a local IARP volunteer during her stay. She and her mother, FadHeelah Ali-Ali, who will accompany her, will not incur any fees. Therapy, meals, transportation and housing will be provided by volunteers of the Iraqi American Reconciliation Project.
Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project
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