Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Baghdad - A Doctor's Story

I was watching this programme on TV earlier this evening, part of the 'This World' investigative reporting series. This week it was about "Life in Baghdad" and was entirely filmed by an Iraqi doctor. Now I realise that the war has a lot of polarising views about the rights and wrongs of this or that, but I couldn't help feeling how this film got straight to the core of what people need to know: what everyday life in Baghdad is like.

Some of the scenes were horrific, describing how civilian hospitals had turned into field hospitals and how 90% of patients received injury treatment from bombs, gunshot wounds and the like. Not to mention the fact that such hospitals are horrifically underequipped and that the doctors themselves risk their lives at every single moment even within the hospital, since at any moment they can be shot dead in the ER by terrorists who maliciously disrupt their activities. Surprises included how severely injured Iraqis refused to believe that their wounds were inflicted by their fellow Iraqis/Muslims, and the open acknowledgement that sectarian loyalties and divisions were being stirred up by bigots who were exploiting them to make war, when Sunnis and Shias had lived happily as brothers under Saddam's rule.

Especially heart-wrenching was a scene within an ambulance after a marketplace bomb blast where several adults and children were blown up. Witnessing the grief of the survivors for their dead friends first-hand brought tears to my eyes. A Shi'ite woman openly wished for the return of Saddam because she considered "systematic" terrorism (Saddam's tortures) to be preferable to the "random" terrorism caused by market, street and car bombs where people are fearful just to go out and buy a loaf of bread. Think about that, you risk your life every time you take a trip to your local store to buy a loaf of bread. It makes me realise how thankful I am for small mercies like that.

I used to be heavily interested in politics but this war has disillusioned me so much that I hardly read anything any more. Because beyond all of the mudslinging and campaigns, people tend to forget what life is like for the man on the street. I guess I felt that was my main interest in politics, how the man on the street can be benefited by whatever proposal is being debated in Parliament. So indeed this documentary helped me understand how the war in Iraq affects the man on the street; ordinary people like you and me who don't care about any war, they are being put to suffering and are needlessly terrorised. The tears of the man on the street is the fire that burns my soul.

I had to think about it in the context of my musings about preaching to the needy; how can one spread the message of Nitai-Gaura's supreme love in a place like Baghdad? Is it even possible? Lots of people would think I am a basket case for even suggesting it, and how could it happen anyway? It's like one of those people who walk around saying "Jesus Loves You", it doesn't make any sense and it doesn't help. People are suffering needlessly over political footballs kicked by politicians with no goalkeepers and the full-time whistle never sounds does it?


Post a Comment

<< Home