"I want to stay here and build a house here. I don't want to leave," are the words uttered by Maria Amin who is the five going on six-year old Palestinian girl paralyzed and turned into a quadriplegic by an Israeli rocket back in 2006.
Just the other day, I reported Maria’s story after reading a BBC article concerning her plight to help gain her more coverage. I wanted folks to know just how lethal these rockets can be and the damage they can do to the most innocent amongst us, the world’s children. No matter what nationality a child is, they are still a child and do not deserve the ravages of war.
In my previous article, I relayed that there are legal proceedings taking place on behalf of Maria. In that article, I quoted, Shirley Meyer who bravely said, “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," Meyer is the head of the Alyn Hospital Rehabilitation Center who has been caring for Maria.
Haaretz.com has now reported, “A Jerusalem rehabilitation center is defying a government order to transfer a Palestinian girl paralyzed in an Israel Defense Forces attack on militants to a hospital in the West Bank.” All I have to say is bravo to that rehabilitation center!
Shirley Meyer stepped up to the plate and stated, “she won't be going anywhere" until her well-being is assured,” since she cannot get the care required by the Palestinian clinic she was scheduled to be deported to.
While the Israeli Defense Ministry has been paying for her care for a year now, they stated that it was time for her to go. Meyer has been in contact with the clinic she was scheduled to be deported to and said, “I spoke with staff from Abu Raya and they told me they are not trained or equipped to handle Maria's care," as relayed to Reuters.
According to Haaretz, Maria’s father Hamdi Amin has appealed the ministry’s ruling and a hearing is scheduled to take place next month. So, Maria stays until the Supreme Court decides her fate. Let us hope that they side with Shirley Meyer who is a health care expert instead of politicians who know nothing of the care of quadriplegics’.
While this little girl fights on she rides around in her wheelchair as she moves it with a joystick. It is unfathomable that she will remain on this respirator that helps her to breathe for the rest of her life. This is the human cost that warring factions bring about.
Not knowing the full medical history of Maria and how quadriplegia affects her personally, according to Wikipedia, “In high cervical injuries total paralysis from the neck down is the result. Patients will need constant care and assistance in things such as getting dressed, eating, and bowel and bladder help. High quadriplegics will usually use catheters or wear incontinence wear because they are unable to use their arms.” That will most likely be Maria’s day for the rest of her life.
I am no diplomat and I do not think that I can even stomach being one, but if I were, there would be no lengthy debates and holding of hands trying to get sides together, I would merely show the ravages of war to each party. I would ask both sides, “Just how long must children suffer?” I would remind them that they are the grown-ups and Maria is showing these adult politicians she is far braver than they are. Perhaps I would make both sides sit down in a wheelchair for days on end to see what the rest of her life will be like. Also to see how the ravages of war affect little girls like Maria, they would have to depend upon someone for their personal hygiene care. Then they may just get it.
Maria is the better diplomat since at her tender age; she took time to learn Hebrew in order to communicate better with those surrounding her. That is not easy for a little girl who only wished to be a little girl. How many five-year-olds do you know that take time to learn a foreign language facing a lifetime of pain and suffering? Maybe Maria is teaching all of us a lesson.
As reported by Haaretz, “The Defense Ministry said in a statement that moving Maria to the Palestinian hospital would allow her to reintegrate into "an environment that is natural for her". It said the Abu Raya facility "can meet all of Maria's needs". I do think that the Defense Ministry should have a frank discussion with Shirley Meyer since she is far better educated when it comes to health care concerns. Meyers is the star lighting up a darkened region as she compassionately cares for this little girl.
I truly believe that there are angels walking amongst us here on Earth and in my opinion, Shirley Meyer is one. It takes incredible strength and yes faith in one’s ability to confront powerful forces especially where a child’s life is at stake. In this country, doctors take an oath which states, “First do no harm” and that is precisely what she is doing.
I often think that life would be better if we all placed politics second and the well being of human beings first. I think that is the lesson gained from this one particular story.
Author’s email address is, firstname.lastname@example.org