On April 12, 2007, a US jet fired a powerful missile into a building next door to the home where two-year-old Mustafa Ghazwan lived with his family. The attack took place in the Al Mafraq neighborhood of Baqubah, in the Iraqi province of Diyala. His uncle Anmar was in the living room with Mustafa when the attack occurred. Anmar threw his body across Mustafa to protect him from flying debris, but the explosion completely destroyed Mustafa’s sense of hearing.
Though Mostafa could say words like mamma, baba, and “memma” (baby bottle in Arabic) before the attack, he has not been able to talk since the American airstrike caused his complete deafness. Mustafa’s father, Ghazwan, says Mustafa is a bright boy who suffers intense frustration from his inability to communicate. At times the boy cried and pounded his head because he couldn’t express himself to his parents, siblings and playmates.
No More Victims sent Mustafa’s medical reports for review by specialists in the Bay Area who determined that Mustafa was an ideal candidate for a cochlear implant. The Iraq Action Group and Ruth Group in the Bay Area teamed to provide local social serivces support for Mustafa and his father. Dr. Daniel Lowenstein helped secure a donated cochlear implant, and Dr. Laurence R. Lustig, Lowenstein’s colleague at UCSF Medical Center, agreed to perform the surgery free of charge. No More Victims evacuated Mustafa and his father from Iraq to San Francisco:
Mustafa received a cochlear implant and several months of rehabilitative treatment from audiologists and speech therapists in San Francisco. Later he was fitted with a second cochlear. His speech and hearing therapy continues; he’ll need intensive work with audiologists and speech therapists as he grows up.