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Name: Siraj Mounir Abdallah Jasim al-Jubouri

Age: 22

Job: Iraqi Army Soldier

Injury: Double leg amputation above the knee

Q: How were you injured?

A: “I was injured in the area of Abu-Ghraib. I was with the cohort II, army brigade 24, the sixth division. During my duty an explosive resulted in amputating my two legs. The Iraqi Army took me to the medical unit in our division. The friendly side, (the Americans), were there by accident at the headquarters and transferred me to their headquarters and then to the Ibn Sina American military hospital. I am indebted to them. My injury was very serious and they saved my life. I saw some of the American doctors but unfortunately I don’t know their names. I wish I could have stayed in touch or seen them because I am in their debt. I wish to see them now.”

Q: Did you work with the Americans?

A: “Yes, we always made joint raids with the friendly side in the area of Abu-Ghraib and we had very good situations with them because they are nice and educated people. One time an American soldier told me: “Whenever I see you, you are smiling. Why do you smile?” I told him that I’m like this. I like to smile. He said: “That’s what I like about you. You’re always optimistic.” I had many American friends, but I only knew them by face. They came sat beside us, laughing and chatting. I chatted with them. I used to play aikido, we used to chat, but unfortunately I didn’t memorize their names. I only know their faces, we used to laugh and chat only.”

Q: Is it the right time for the Americans to withdraw and do you believe that the Iraqi army is capable of taking over?

A: “Iraqi soldiers are loyal and they can take over but the Americans, because they have advanced weapons and because they are the first in the world, they are capable of defending Iraq and there is no need for them to withdraw now. We care about what the people want. Naturally, the people do not want an occupation but the American side came as a liberating country not as an occupying country. Some mentalities, because they are not aware of many things, believe as we used to think during the old era, but this is wrong. They are not occupiers. They are liberators and they rid us of something my children nor I would not have been able to get rid of. They rid us of something that we can say is like Azrael. (note: Azrael is the death angel but he means it in a negative way, meaning they rid us of a terrible nightmare).”
“…..back to the army. First, the Iraqi government: we haven’t formed a government yet. We have no government yet. See how long now. No president, no parliament speaker, no prime mine, no members. The country is in between. Let’s form a government, have an army with enough equipment that is capable to control terrorists. Till now we don’t have this. We only have salaried soldiers in the street with weapons. What’s their job? No job. That’s what we have. If we were like the American army controlling the situation I believe the Americans would not stay after that. They themselves would have left.”

Q: Who helps and cares for your at home and at the hospital? The psychiatrist told us you tried to commit suicide twice. What is the reason?

A: “When I was first injured, the friendly side was treating me and they were nice, they didn’t make me feel my handicap. They understood the situation. They knew how to deal with me. But when I moved to Iraqi hospitals … I was thrown like, God save you, any animal, nobody taking care of me. Finally, I, personally, and my family because they are concerned for me, moved me to a private hospital. I was spending my own money. Instead of saving money for my future, it seems it is not my destiny to save this money. I spent all my money on treatment. I saw that suddenly from a whole person I became half a person’s body. I felt depressed and thought of committing suicide more than once. I had tried to do something for myself, for my children and the future. Now that I’ve become handicapped how would I be able to work or get something for myself, because by nature I like to depend on myself. I don’t like to ask people to bring or do things for me. You know Iraq has become a country of rich and poor. Rich people benefit but the poor have no luck in this country. We do all we can just to make an honest living, but no luck in this life.”

Q: Who helped you get over this phase?

A: “Most of the time, my family were talking to me saying this is God’s fate. Then I thought let me start a new life. The most important thing is that I am alive. When one thinks of other people’s worse tragedies one’s own seems less tragic. I saw other disabled persons who are helpless. It’s good I had my hands and brain to help me. I started accepting what happened. My mother helped me most, my father, my brother and sister, for example, brought me the things I wanted. As a person who treated me, my superior helped me become stronger, a gentleman with us at the Muthanna airport, Abu-Fatma, the psychiatrist, sort of quieted me down and told me that God willing things were gonna be alright. He helped me to sort of get over the injury.”

Q: Do you regret the injury?

A: “It is not a matter of regretting something that happened to me. It’s God’s fate. I sort of regret and do not regret. In the case of friendly side, the American and European countries, soldiers are dear, if something happens to them or if they suffer an injury like mine they provide them with the house, the car, things they need, special places, they lead a comfortable life. In our case in Iraq when I go to the street people look at me. When I wanna get married, when you ask for someone’s hand in marriage they ask you what is your future, what will the Iraqi government give you so that we can guarantee our daughter’s future? Look, I regret only one thing. First of all, I didn’t find attention from the Iraqi government. Suddenly, this soldier becomes like a torn paper that they throw away. No rights. They do not think: “This soldier. What happened to him? Here. Take a piece of land, take a car, etc..” So that one feels taken care of because I found attention from the Iraqi government. We used to stand a lot in the sun, we walked the streets at night while people slept, we didn’t know when we would die, we jeopardized our lives for our country and after that we were thrown away like waste.”

Q: What do you want to tell the American or European people?

A: “As for the American side, they are the country of humanity. I prefer they find me a solution to rid us of our suffering. Some simple help because we can’t find much in this country.”

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