Michael's Dispatches

How you Got Hit

25 November 2013


Some people love war.  For most others, the disease is difficult to live with.

Parents have it bad.  They are challenged to safeguard children while showing strength when schools close, food runs out, and fetching water can end with a sniper’s bullet.

An oft-repeated parental worry is that they will be killed and nobody will care for their children.  Some orphans fall into the safety net of a large family, while for others the loss of a father can leave the mother begging for a lifetime along the roadways, the children spread to the winds as prostitutes, beggars, thieves, or in rare cases, suicide bombers.

A Syrian rebel with a camera came to see me in Turkey and brought video of a boy being shown how he was struck in the head with shrapnel.


The boy heard stories about what happened.  In what might be the most recorded war in history, the moment was captured on video.

And so, in an attempt to help the boy put this injury in his past, his family decided to show him the footage.


A woman at first covered his eyes from the most gruesome moments.

The Syrian informant who provided the images also wrote a summary in Arabic, which was translated for me by another Syrian who speaks English with an American accent:

“Ibrahim was fragged in his head in January 2013 when he was playing near his home in the Idleb countryside, Syria. His injury was bad. He was treated by closing the wound with stitching even though there is a lack of medical supplies in the area. After a while, the boy watched himself in a video that was shot when he was hit and then rescued. He only remembers his panic and the pain that made him cry. It was like a dream he could not wake up from.  He is stronger now. Whenever he sees the video, he remembers that there are people who rescue all the injured. That was an encouragement for him to stay in his village and play with his friends in the same place he was injured, with no psychological repercussions related to the time or place.”


Ibrahim is one of the lucky ones, so far.

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