A 3-year-old Iraqi boy whose hearing was destroyed when a U.S. missile struck his next-door neighbor’s house last year will arrive in San Francisco Wednesday to undergo restorative surgery.
Mustafa Ghazwan lost his hearing on June 17, 2007 when a U.S. missile struck his neighborhood in the Iraqi city of Baqouba, according to the Los Angeles-based non-profit No More Victims.
The organization brings children injured in the war in Iraq to the United States for community-sponsored medical treatment, and has arranged for Mustafa to receive a cochlear implant and rehabilitative treatment at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.
The implant was donated by a private company and the surgery will be performed by Dr. Lawrence Lustig, director of the Douglas Grant Cochlear Implant Center at UCSF, pro bono, according to the organization.
Ann Cothran, national community coordinator for No More Victims, said the organization focuses on children wounded by U.S. forces and has brought 10 Iraqi children to the U.S. for treatment so far.
Mustafa and his father, a professor of media studies at Baghdad University, have been living in Jordan while awaiting a visa to enter the U.S. The process was expected to take about one month but instead took six, Cothran said.
“It’s been a long wait for them and very frustrating for the father because he’s away from his wife and other children,” Cothran said.
She said, however, that it looks like the arrangements are finally in place for them to make the trip. “They are so excited, they will be leaving Amman tomorrow morning,” Cothran said. She said No More Victims was founded in 2002 by freelance writer Cole Miller in anticipation of the invasion of Iraq. The non-profit’s aim, she said, is to promote peace by highlighting the toll of war.
“To me it’s really the most tangible way for us to come to this reality that we’re all one human family,” Cothran said. “Showing the human face of collateral damage makes a huge difference.”
“When we’re just hearing numbers and we’re just seeing bombs that look like fireworks on the news, it doesn’t mean a whole lot,” she said.
Mustafa is scheduled to arrive at San Francisco International Airport Wednesday morning, accompanied by his father, Ghazwan Al-Nadawi and No More Victims founder Miller.