20th September 2007

America the Compassionate

HeartsI was going to title this post “Fighting Radical Islam One Family at a Time”, but decided that I did not want to imply that this family had any radical leanings – that would be irresponsible since I do not know their religious or political views. At this moment they are simply a family, like any other anywhere else in the world. Instead I want to focus on this story as a whole, one that is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and which I’ve been following for quite a few weeks now.

Unless you’ve been traveling abroad or hiding under a bush, you’ve likely heard the story of the young Iraqi boy named Youssif, who was severely burned in an unprovoked and unexplained attack, leaving him so badly scarred that he has difficulty eating, among other health issues. His family had tried for months to get help from Iraqi authorities, without success, until they finally came to the attention of a CNN reporter stationed in Baghdad, who gave this story the media attention it deserved.

As soon as I saw this item almost a month ago, I knew that America would not let this sad story slip by unnoticed. There is no doubt in my heart and mind that this reprehensible act would not have occurred were it not for the brutal civil war Iraq is enmeshed in, the flames of which were fanned by the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, as a result of a war we had no business starting. Would other, equally violent, acts have occurred under Saddam’s rule? No doubt they would. But likely not this one.

We have a responsibility to try to clean up some of the mess we’ve made. We owe it to some of the ordinary, upstanding citizens of Iraq who have suffered much because of our war. And this is a good place to start. America has shown its unceasing generosity and compassion, its ability to help those in desperate need. There are so many Heroes in this story – everyone responsible for bringing this family to America so that Youssif can get treatment and surgery to correct as much damage as possible, Dr. Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center (who will perform the surgery), and everyone who has donated to the fund set up at the Children’s Burn Foundation to help make this possible. All Heroes who deserve our respect and kudos.

To look into a child’s smiling face is to see hope for our future. To know that, someday when Youssif goes home with a smile on his face because he knows that Americans really do care, gives us even more hope.

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