Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"We are proud of what Americans have done for us"

The April 4th Houston Chronicle featured the powerful and moving story of seven Iraqis who had their right hands amputated under Saddam. Just over a year ago, a Houston hospital fitted the men with prosthetic hands. While their lives over the last year have contained many hardships, the men are grateful for the tremendous gift they have received. Almost as importantly, other Iraqis who have heard their story have been impressed as well:

Their story had a big impact in Iraq , said Kanan Makiya, a Brandeis University professor who runs the Iraq Memory Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the oral history of Iraq .

"When they went back to Iraq , there was an amazement on the part of people," he said. "It created a completely different, very positive image of Americans. It was a very uplifting story that spread through word of mouth."

Makiya said Iraqis were familiar with the kind of mutilation the men had endured.

"It was done to shame people. What Saddam's regime was looking for was a ripple effect - that is why they were mutilated, not killed," Makiya said. "Healing them creates the same impact in reverse."

Healing the damage done by Saddam. We're doing a lot of that. Of course, Saddam left plenty of damage to be healed.

Obviously, the lives of these seven men are far from perfect, and the article makes it clear that they share the same concerns regarding security and utilities as do many Iraqis. Overall, however, their attitude is described as one of "cautious optimism".

Please read it all:

Healing Hands in More Ways Than One

(Republished by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies)


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