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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi

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Meet Abdul Rahman Zawawi. He is a freedom fighter from Misrata that has lost both his eyes in the revolution. He was able to get the emergency surgery he needed at a hospital in Tunis.
Omar with Adbu after he got out of surgery
Misrata endured months of shelling by Qaddafi's forces, including with cluster munitions. Then there was heavy fighting to end the siege. Many of the most seriously wounded have been sent to Tunis for care. As a result the situation in the Tunis hospitals is desperate and of the ICU units are packed. Only last week almost 300 new patients arrived and there was no room for them in the hospitals or clinics. Doctors are stressed out and overwhelmed with the kind of surgeries they are being asked to performed; far beyond their training.

Carol Viana and Omar AlMuktar met on Twitter during the early weeks of the Libyan Revolution and saw the needs in the hospitals early on. In July they started a project called "Postcards for Libya" where they encourage people to send get well cards and letters to Libya patients in Tunisia, mostly Tunis. Carol wrote me:
Money is an issue too. People are being discharged way too early. NTC needs to get involved. We've been trying for months to bring awareness to this but everyone was so focused on the war, it's hard to have "hospital stories."

A couple weeks ago Omar AlMuktar's own cousin from Misrata arrived in Tunis and the team for "Postcards for Libya" has been trying to get the word out on his story. Adbu, who is only 21, lost both eyes and also had his nose completely burned off. They are trying to get plastic surgery outside of Tunis.

Please visit Postcards for Libya if you can help.

Abdulrahman Zawawi, Freedom fighter from Misurata, has lost both of his eyes
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In the video ..., Abdu is waking up from surgery. He holds his brother's hand and asks God to give his parents strength and patience, says he was blessed with his wounds and he is glad he gave his eyes to Libya. He says he would gladly give more if asked. He asks his brother to work hard, be successful in life and asks him always to have faith in God.
More from Postcards from Libya: Ali ,on right, and friend
Meet Ali, Misrata freedom fighter hit by Gaddafi Grad. Both legs amputated. Ali said the Grad exploded at his feet and the blast threw him 10 meters away. One of his comrades was literally cut in half. Ali was hit by that Grad on May 13. Then, due to the siege, he waited 27 days to get out of Misrata. In Ali’s group of 30 Freedom Fighters, 3 died & 7 injured from that Grad. He said their weapons range was only 5km max vs 40 for Gaddafi forces. Ali came from Misrata on a small fishing boat. It was fast but bounced a lot. During his 1st 5 days in Tunisia, Ali was treated for further damage suffered in the voyage from Misrata, not for direct injuries from the Grad. Misrata was out of anesthetics when a chunk of flesh was removed near his waist. Ali showed me how he bit a towel & clenched. On the parts of Ali’s body that remain, it looks like he was hit by a meteor shower. 100 pieces of shrapnel from the Grad. Ali said he’d been quiet & introspective before I came by. But as you can see, he became energized as we visited. July 14. Ali said he’d gladly give the rest of his body for Libya and his beloved city, Misrata. He radiates a noble passion. Visiting with Ali was a joy, but I couldn’t help weeping. He took my head in his hands, kissed it, and told me not to cry.” Via James Wheeler (@wheelertweets)
This is Aymen in Tunis, Tunisia. Aymen is a 14 year-old child who picked up a cluster bomb outside of his house in Misrata. Upon picking it up, it exploded, ripping off both his hands, tearing off the flesh of his legs, and sending shrapnel into his eye. He was so happy when he received his postcard from Australia, he asked his cousin to put the card around his neck so he could show everyone.
These are the true heroes of the Libyan revolution, not some imagery NATO spooks as the anti-interventionists would have you believe.
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya
7:05 AM PT: @OmarAlMuktar' real name is Suleiman A. Tawil

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