Father of Disabled Kids Turns to God After Being Ignored by the State

by Medindia Content Team on  December 10, 2007 at 3:14 PM General Health News
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Three children are paralysed and one has severe heart problems -- life has not been kind to Basim Mahjar and his family huddled in a windowless room at a Baghdad school.

Nor, it seems, have the Iraqi authorities.
Father of Disabled Kids Turns to God After Being Ignored by the State
Father of Disabled Kids Turns to God After Being Ignored by the State

Mahjar, 45, earns a pittance as a guard at central Baghdad's Al-Dahana school. He is the sole breadwinner in a family of six.

"I have surrendered myself to God's mercy," said Mahjar whose wage is a meagre 150 dollars a month -- not enough to pay for surgery for his children.

His eldest son Haider, 21, is paralysed from the waist down after shrapnel shattered his hip in 1991 when Saddam Hussein's forces attacked the northern oil city of Kirkuk to put down an anti-government rebellion.

Daughter Zainab, 7, and son Abbas, 11, fell from a rooftop while playing and both are paralysed. Another son, 14-year-old Hussein, was born with dextrocardia -- his heart on the right side of the chest.

"I don't know what to do. I have no home and my children are disabled," said Mahjar. "They can't move and one day they will be on the streets if something happens to me."

The family stays in a small, dingy room at the school in central Baghdad's Suk al-Hanoon area.

Apart from Zainab who attends classes, all the other family members huddle inside the room during the day when the school is open, moving outside only once classes come to an end.

"They are confined to one room and can move out in the compound only in the evening," said Mahjar, with tears in his eyes.

Haider is embarrassed by his disability.

"I am getting older and I am a burden to my family, especially to my mother," he said as he crawled to a corner of the room.

Haider has undergone surgery to repair his hip but doctors say he needs another operation, which Mahjar cannot afford.

Zainab also needs surgery. She tries to forget her hardship by burying herself in her textbooks or by watching cartoons on the school television.

"I see my classmates moving and getting out but I can't move. This makes me very depressed and sad. I can't do anything," she said.

"I don't know what is going to happen to us in the future. My parents are tired and we all are disabled."

Mahjar said he had knocked on the doors of the Iraqi government and had even received assurances, but nothing concrete has yet been done to help his family.

"An Iraqi official heard about my suffering and allocated me some land, but a female employee from the Karrada municipality rejected it," he said, referring to a central Baghdad neighbourhood.

"She said I can't be given such favours as I am not a political victim of the former regime."

He is also angry that his request that his children be sent abroad for treatment has been ignored by the health ministry.

"I have tried again and again to talk to the ministry but in vain," he said.

"I have no hope but to surrender to God's mercy."

Source: AFP

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