As most of you know through my columns and my on-air appearance on CNN concerning Youssif, I am very concerned for all children either maimed or killed by war. In Youssif’s case, he will be coming to the United States along with his family for treatment. His treatment will be long and arduous, but seeing his energy via the feed produced by CNN, he may surprise those that will provide his health care.
Sadly another child has come to my attention that is in need of care. While not a victim of the Iraq War, she is none the less a victim of violence within the Middle East. Like Youssif, Maria Amin who is from Gaza is five-years-old.
Her plight came to me via an email and her case brought before the world via the BBC. While there is no feed to see how she is surviving her injuries, she is just as beautiful as Youssif. She has the face of an angel.
As reported by the BBC, “Maria was paralysed from the neck down by an Israeli rocket attack in May 2006.” The rocket that maimed Maria was aimed and armed and took the life outright of an Islamic Jihad movement. As a result, Maria is now a quadriplegic who is permanently attached to a ventilator. All five-year-olds should have the right to play no matter where they live and do not deserve to be the targets of warring factions or in Maria’s case an unintended target.
If her injuries are not devastating enough, the rocket that maimed her for life took the lives of her mother, grandmother and seven-year-old brother. Part of her support system was basically ripped right from her during the time she would need them most. As they were killed, “Maria was blown through the car window, suffering severe injuries.” I cannot even picture that in my mind’s eye.
What really angers me is this passage from the BBC report, “Israeli law denies compensation to victims of what it calls its "acts of war", but Maria's story was taken up by local as well as foreign press.” At least Americans are trying to help Youssif and the Israeli government is turning its back on Maria? Again words fail me in relaying my disgust towards this law and those that uphold it.
I really do not wish to get into the politics of it all and choose only to focus on Maria. As a political editorialist, I am just biting my lip so that I do not go off on some blistering tirade here.
Presently her care is being paid for by the Israeli Defense Ministry, but now they wish to deport her to a clinic in Palestine clinic in the West Bank. Again reported by the BBC, “The head of the hospital, Shirley Meyer, doesn't want to let Maria go.”
Like my sentiments concerning politics, Meyer’s states, “Without going into politics - that's not my role and not my business - my first priority is to make sure my patients receive the care they need," I only hope that the Prime Minister of Israel is listening.
In a statement by Maria’s father, Hamdi he had this to say, “Israel's air strike killed my son and my wife. All I ask is that they look after my daughter.” I would like to ask the government of Israel to address his concerns and do so with compassion and not deport her, but step up to the plate and meet her needs. I would love it if the citizens of Israel were to demand action from their government to take care of Maria since she has lost so much through one of their rockets.
As you take your next breath or see your child breathing, Maria can only survive for fifty seconds off of her ventilator. Her father even goes onto say, “It's a matter of life and death for Maria… Here they are experts. In Ramallah they are not," I cannot even fathom a father having to plead as Maria’s is doing considering the fact he has also lost his wife and a child. The emotional strain on him must be unbearable.
While there are legal proceedings in the works on behalf of Maria, her concerns are quite simple such as wanting to bathe by herself. She even wishes an apartment so that she could cook for her father and surviving younger brother. Her father paints her finger nails fully knowing that she will never get to use them. As a mom, the thought just blows me away. Every little girl deserves their nails painted and to think of the possibilities that life has to offer.
Without going into the politics of stem cell research, cases like hers means making it happen. When I relayed in my piece concerning Youssif that there must be many more burnt Iraqi children, there must be many more Iraqi and Palestinian children who have been left paralyzed because their leaders failed them all.
All I ask as an independent writer who does not have adequate contacts is that if you are reading this piece and have the ability to help this little girl, Maria that you do step up to the plate and help her as well. Again, it means thinking and feeling outside of self. When they say war is hell, just imagine it from a child’s standpoint especially if one has to live life paralyzed like Maria.
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org