'We Live Like Dogs'



"Doctors in Fallujah are reporting there are patients in the hospital there
who were forced out by the Americans," says Mehdi Abdulla, a 33-year-old
ambulance driver at a hospital in Baghdad. "Some doctors there told me they
had a major operation going, but the soldiers took the doctors away and
left the patient to die." He looks at the ground, then away to the
distance.

Honking cars fill the chaotic street outside the hospital, where they'd
just received brand new desks. The empty boxes are strewn about outside. Um
Mohammed, a doctor at the hospital sits behind her old, wooden desk. "How
can I take a new desk when there are patients dying because we don't have
medicine for them?" she asks while holding her hands in the air. "They
should build a lift so patients who can't walk can be taken to surgery, and
instead we have these new desks!" Her eyes were piercing with fire, while
yet another layer of frustration is folded into her work.

"And there are still a few Iraqis who think the Americans came to liberate
them," she adds, looking out the broken window. The glass lay about
outside, shattered from a car bomb that had detonated in front of the
hospital. "These people will change their minds about the liberators when
they, too, have had a family member killed by them."

Mehdi then takes us to a refugee camp of Fallujans over on the campus of
the University of Baghdad. Tents surround an old mosque. Kids run about,
several of them kicking around a half-inflated soccer ball. Some women are
using two water taps to clean pots and wash clothing. Many people stand
around, walking aimlessly, waiting..

 


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