Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Healing the Brutal Face of War

AMMAN, 11 Feb 2007 (IRIN) - Though her name means ‘the sun’ in English, 18-month-old Shams may never be able to experience sunlight in her life again. Half her face was blown away in an explosion in Baghdad, leaving her eyes buried under badly burnt skin.

Shams was with her parents when three cars exploded in Al Sadr, the predominantly Shia area of Baghdad, last year. Her mother died instantly. Shams survived to become a living testimony of the brutality of war.

The baby Iraqi girl is one of hundreds of thousands of victims of violence that has escalated since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

She lies in a bed at the Jordan Red Crescent Hospital in Amman, sucking on a feeding bottle before drifting off to sleep.

“She does not sleep at night,” said her father Hisham, 35, who arrived with Shams last week in the hope that plastic surgeons could reconstruct her face.

Her operation will be carried out by doctors from the international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF, in association with the Jordanian government, has set up an aid programme in the capital, Amman, for Iraqi war victims.

Shams is one of 25 Iraqi patients who are receiving treatment in Amman as part of this programme.

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