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by peace dove
Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 12:29 AM
Ibtihal Jassem was 9 years old when U.S. bombs came crashing into her
neighborhood in Basra, Iraq. Those bombs killed her mother, father, three
brothers and two sisters... and also dozens of neighbors. Ibtihal was found
in the rubble... her right leg almost severed. The grisly Associated Press
photo of Ibtihal being carried to a hospital by her uncle, her shattered leg
dangling horrifically from her bloody clothes, was flashed all across the
world. I remember posting that photograph to several Indymedia websites.
Disbelieving war supporters hurled the accusation that the photo was a
fraud... a "photoshop job" created by "unpatriotic" Americans. One year
later Ibtihal Jassem struggles to adjust as a victim of war in a country
that is occupied and in shambles.
In the photo, the girl as she was 1 year ago (left), and as she is today
(right). Mohammed Chiyad attaches a plastic leg onto his 10-year-old
granddaughter Ibtihal, outside her home in Basra. Born deaf and mute, Jassem
has lived with her grandparents since the March 22 2003 U.S. bombing of the
Mshan neighborhood. (AP Photo /Hussein Malla)
ibtihal.jpg, image/jpeg, 656x423
Iraqi Child Struggles to Adjust to Losses
Sun Mar 21, 2004
By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer
BASRA, Iraq - War robbed 10-year-old Ibtihal Jassem. She lost her right leg.
And the little girl who was born deaf and mute was deprived of the security
of a loving family.
She was the only one in her family to survive a coalition air raid on Basra
two days after the war began.
An Associated Press photograph of an uncle carrying Ibtihal into the
southern city's al-Tahrir Hospital was widely used by news media around the
Today, while other children are back in school, she spends her days
struggling with crutches in the streets of her neighborhood on the outskirts
of this southern city.
At her grandparents' home, sitting with her 11 cousins, she looks lost,
unable to interact or play with them, unable to share in the jokes.
Her grandparents and cousins talk to her using a crude form of sign language
or by physically carrying or leading her where they want her to go.
Ibtihal has lived with her grandparents since bombs hit the Mshan
neighborhood last March 22. The explosions killed 34 people, wounded more
than 70 and destroyed 21 houses, residents said.
Among the dead were Ibtihal's mother, Zakia Ahmed, father, Jassem Mohammed,
her three brothers, Ali, 8, Hussein, 3, Rasoul, 18 months, and two sisters,
Jinan, 10, and Sikna, 4.
"It was a massacre. It was a catastrophe," said Jaber Jouda, 57, the
great-uncle who dug Ibtihal from the rubble. He said he found her with her
right leg almost severed and her other leg injured.
Doctors had to amputate the right leg but were able to save the left.
Shaya'a Jaber, Ibtihal's grandmother, now takes care of the girl. She feeds
and washes her and helps put on her artificial leg every morning.
"She has nothing to do all day. She spends her time with her 11 cousins,
taking walks in the streets or playing with her doll," Jaber said as Ibtihal
sat on the carpet of the sitting room, playing with her doll.
It's not clear how much Ibtihal knows about the events of a year ago.
Standing in front of the rubble pile that used to be her family's home, she
is asked if she knows what happened to her parents and siblings. She smiles
shyly, looks at the ground, turns and hobbles away.
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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 2:21 AM
|please get another mantra
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 2:50 AM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 3:08 AM
|so fresca do you want me to show you AGAIN how Saddam rode in to power with the CIA?
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 4:05 AM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 4:13 AM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 5:23 AM
|so you admit you're a liar
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 7:12 AM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 7:23 AM
|for Buzz lips
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 2:21 PM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 7:10 PM
|don't think so
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 7:29 PM
|THE POINT IS
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 9:03 PM
|The little girl
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:05 PM
|I f*****g love it.
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:09 PM
|What's the matter Sheepdip?
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:11 PM
|the matter is
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:15 PM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:25 PM
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:33 PM
|The CIA--lefty excuse for everything
||Sunday, Mar. 28, 2004 at 10:47 PM
||Snake eating it's tail
||Monday, Mar. 29, 2004 at 2:13 AM
|Disband and prosecute the CIA
||Monday, Mar. 29, 2004 at 5:04 PM
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