NECN’s Greg Wayland has the story of a young Iraq War survivor and the people who have gathered to help him.
Portraits by photographer Rania Matar of a child horribly burned and broken by war. But reviving in body and spirit thanks to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Doctors John Meara and Brian Labow, the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, and the group, No More Victims.
Here is 5-year-old Omar Mahmoud before war touched him. He and his family were taxiing to Baghdad for a holiday visit with relatives when they came upon frightened, confused U.S. troops.
Sabah Kadir, Omar’s father: My whole family was devastated by what happened, and the most devastating thing, was losing my wife.
He heard the driver screaming, ‘we’ve been hit, we’ve been hit.’ They’d been hit by U.S. forces - a convoy had opened fire on the car. Omar’s father was hit twice in the back trying to rescue him. He got Omar out of the car, but couldn’t rescue Omar’s mother, who burned to death in the car. Now, he lives in Boston, wears his Red Sox cap, is slowly embracing life again — and embraces his little boy.
“He’s doing well in school. He’s in a kindergarten school in Cambridge. I take him there every morning and bring him back. And they’re very positive.”
As for Omar, his scalp has been temporarily expanded by a balloon, to let good tissue, and new cells, grow. His extensive burns are also being treated.
“I just decided that I really needed to become involved.”
Los Angeles-based freelance writer Cole Miller is founder of No More Victims.
“I wanted to show the human face of collateral damage and then to create ways that American communities could have the opportunity to help some of the children who were hurt in U.S. military operations.”
Miller is in Boston for a Friday debut of a film about his group’s work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Keynote speaker, intellectual and anti-war activist Noam Chomsky. Cole Miller makes no secret of his intense opposition to the war in Iraq.
“I think that people who support the war should really examine very carefully the rationale that was given and decide whether or not they believe it’s true. They should seek information from outside sources and I think any impulse to help people who have been hurt is a good impulse and I would urge them to follow it.”
They can find Cole Miller and No More Victims on the Internet - and may find a child like Omar in need of their help.
NVM Editor's Note: For Noam Chomsky's comments about the significance of No More Victims, Click Here.