Sunday, November 06, 2011

Noora 2011

Then let us pray that come it may,

(As come it will for a'that)

That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth

Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.

For a' that, an a' that,

It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er,

Shall brithers be for a' that

--A Man's a Man for a' That
, Robert Burns

because you

unflinchingly applaud all

songs containing the words country home and

mother when sung at the old howard

Humanity i love you because

when you're hard up you pawn your

intelligence to buy a drink

--Humanity, i love you
, e.e. cummings

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can

And don't have any kids yourself

--This Be the Verse, Phillip Larkin


We have written before about the plight of Noora Abdulhameed, a girl caught in a sniper's cross hair in the town of Heet, northwest of Baghdad, in 2006 (Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue).

We happened to catch her story in the Portland Press Herald (ME) while passing through the town a few years ago. We have not read about her elsewhere, and she has come to the States via a small humanitarian program hopefully-named, No More Victims (NMV). Through the efforts of this group many Maine medical professionals have donated their expertise to Noora's recovery.

Her story is unremarkable (which is not to say she is), save for the fact that she serves as the face of collateral damage. Sixteen + operations and multiple life disruptions over years at the expense of one bullet. In order for this one girl's head wound to be set aright will require hundreds of thousands of donated dollars and man hours, and fund-raising efforts all to repair something that might not have happened. It is a lot of wasted energy to get back to zero. That is the pity of war.

I received notice via email this week that Noora and her father Afef will be returning to Portland for her 15th and 16th surgeries 21 November.

Noora's stateside journey began on October 26, 2006, when she was shot in the head by a rooftop U.S. sniper while a passenger in her father's car. From the Portland Press Herald:

"Noora suffered the loss of tissue from her skull on the left side of her head and her forehead. Her bones were exposed and dead bone matter was removed; skin was transferred from her thighs to her head. Noora and her father arrived in Portland in June of 2008 and, after receiving treatment in Maine for a year, was able to return to her home in Iraq in June of 2009. . . . Still missing a piece of her skull two years later, she first came to Portland to have a prosthetic section of skull inserted (Surgeries Over, She's Eager for "Just Fun")

But complications arose, and the prosthetic skull had to be removed due to infection; saline balloons were inserted under her scalp, but not enough skin was grown. All of which brings Noora back to Maine for her 15th and 16th surgeries. From the Eggenberger email:

"During this visit Dr. Attwood will complete the plastic surgery to her scalp, addressing the one remaining bald area on the back of her head. Her first surgery will involve the placement of balloons beneath her scalp. Over the course of six to eight weeks the balloons will be filled with saline, expanding them and growing the new skin which will be used during the second surgery, to cover the bald area. If all goes as planned Noora will then have completed the plastic surgery process leaving only a couple of brief visits to NYC for hair transplant surgery, sometime next year."

We wish Noora and Afef a successful visit. Afef is quoted as saying,
"She ask me all the time, why do American sniper shoot me? What I do?"

There's not really a good answer for that.

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