Sunday, September 07, 2008

Treating The Void

Medical City
My uncle inspires me. He is a doctor in Baghdad. In 2006, he was threatened with his life and the life of his family if he continues to practice as a surgeon in Baghdad's Medical City (Madinat al Tib). After a short fearful stint in Najaf, he returned to Baghdad, at his original post where he remains to this day, despite the threats on his life. Many of his colleagues have left, to all corners of the country and of the world to look for a better life, but he remained in Baghdad. In my family, three other doctors have left. He stayed. For it is his courage, his beliefs and his solidarity with his land and his people that has kept him there. I am honored and proud to be his niece. 
Warzones are no easy workplace. Most of the educated, intellectual, creative Iraqi's have left Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, joining the rest of our educated crop that left during Saddams stifling regime. You can find Iraqi doctors, architects, artists, writers and thinkers all over the world, but mostly in the U.K., U.A.E., Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and sprinkled around Europe and North America. The unfortunate result of the exodus of trained brains is a severe shortage in the intellectual, cultural and medical fields in Iraq. What happened to the reputation of Iraq as the standard of education and cultural thinkers in the Arab world? What is going to happen to the generations of Iraqi youth who have lost their right to be taught, trained and treated by the elders who have worked hard on educating themselves and educating others? Who will fill that void?

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