Wednesday, 14 February 2007

UNITE for Children UNITE against AIDS

I know I have written about this crime few times but I will not stop writing in support of the children, this is the least I can do for my country's neglected tragic victims.

Here are some recent quotes from some news organisations regarding this matter:
140 journalists from 30 countries signed a petition demanding the immediate release of the five Bulgarian medics and Palestinian doctor sentenced to death in Libya. A total of 144 people signed the petition on Friday on the 53rd winter meeting of the Journalists' International Ski Club. Representatives of the media in France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the UK, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Slovenia, Romania, Argentina, Sweden, Russia, Bulgaria and Morocco have put their signatures on the petition. [SNA]

Bulgarians prepared an unprecedented shows of solidarity with five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya ahead of the eighth anniversary of their arrest, AFP reported. Prayers for the five nurses and a Palestinian doctor began Thursday in Sofia's mosque and were to continue Friday with masses at the Alexander Nevski Christian Orthodox cathedral, the Jewish Synagogue and the Catholic, Armenian and Evangelist churches in the capital. Bulgarian students were also planning to march to the Libyan embassy on Friday. [FIA]

Bulgarian Parliament expressed deepest concern and sorrow over the ongoing tragedy (!!) of the Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor jailed in Libya, whose imprisonment mark the eighth year, Parliament Speaker Georgi Pirinski said Saturday. Pirinski said the Parliament stresses on speeding up Libyan judicial proceedings and procedures which should take into consideration evidence and proof of innocence of the Bulgarian nurses. [KUNA]

Do you know what these quotes have in common?

Yes, they all failed even to mention the more than 400 infected Libyan children, as if their case is not an ongoing tragedy and as if they do not deserve any support.
I have found an interview done by a female Libyan journalist with some of the victims and their families, I tried to translate extracts of the interview as best as possible, I am not going to translate what the victims think of the Bulgarian & Palestinian medics, I am only translating the parts about the forgotten victims of this tragedy, the journalist is called Zainab Shahin, here is some of what she wrote:
The pen really shakes between my fingers as I try to write words that might help to draw a true picture of the bitter life suffered by children and young people that were sentenced to death just because they went one day to a hospital in Benghazi to get some medical treatment. A death sentence that has nothing like it happen before. What do I write about? I can not find the words to describe a tragedy that befell children, young men & women, families, in fact a whole community.
Young people that had dreams, ambitions and hopes that died a delayed death. A real tragedy that the world never experienced before.
I sat with them, they told me their feelings, what they want to be done. I decided to put it as it was.

Ali Al-Agouri is the father of a girl called Istabraq, she is infected with the HIV virus, I was shocked when I saw him as he arrived for the interview, he was walking like a dead man, his sadness for his daughter made him loose interest in life, his wife told me that her husband suffers from serious heart conditions and that he needs surgery. I decided to go over to him to avoid him using the stairs, I was confronted with a man that could not even take his breath, holding his walking stick he shook hands with me and said this is what they have done to us, my daughter was injected with the virus that is eating her childhood, I suffered my first heart attack when she was admitted to Intensive Care some time ago, now I suffered my second heart attack, with all of that I do not think about anything except my daughter, his tears started to roll down his face he then asked why is the west ignoring the victims?
Faida Al-Tarhuni is the wife of Ali and the mother of Istabraq, she said: I was admitted to the Benghazi children's hospital with my daughter for 4 days in 1998 to Ward B (Ward B is where the Bulgarian nurses worked) we went there to get medical treatment just to find out that our children have been injected with death. I can not describe to you the shock we felt when we were told that our daughter is one of the infected children.
These are difficult days, on one hand we have the delayed death sentence for our daughter, on the other we suffer from being shunned by our community, this has happened to all the victims families, as you know the Libyan society is very conservative and did not know this illness, suddenly without any introductions it found itself face to face with this disease, in the beginning we felt like guilty mothers, do you realise the size of this tragedy? after that our children were shunned, in fact there are some uneducated families that removed their children away from our daughter in case they get infected, my other children suffer too just because their sister is infected, I want to say that the tragedy does not stop at the infected children only but it reaches the families and the society, we can not be quiet about this crime.

Mabrouka Al-Khatab said: I was admitted to this hospital with my son Samir for 3 days in Ward B where the Bulgarians and the Palestinian doctor worked. people like us tasted death, fear and bitterness, it happens to us every moment with our children, who tried what we suffer from? our loved ones, our friends and our relatives deserted us, I have another child that suffers from psychological problems because of his brother's illness and from waiting for his death.
Her infected son Samir Hamad Issa spoke and said: I hate the medicines, I have been taking them for 9 years non stop, the question that I have is why did they do this to me and the others? I did not commit any offence.
Istabraq Ali Al-Agouri, the little infected girl said: I hate the medicine too, when is this damn thing that is with us all the time going to stop?
I hate the injections, I am always saying to my mother I wish you never took me to the hospital.
Mabrouka (Samir's mother) then said: we thought the whole world was going to stand with the victims but the world ignored our children that were sentenced to death. no crime ever committed was as horrible as this crime that was committed against our children.

Moftah Hassan Ali Hassan was born in 1988, here he tell his painful story: I was admitted to hospital suffering from high temperature, I was injected with the virus, this is my case I am the one that suffers even with all the problems I caused for my family. when we were young children we did not know anything about what happened, now we are adults and know everything, there are 78 of us, men & women waiting for our deaths.
No amount of compensation even if it was billions of pounds would buy me back my health or give me back my body that was injected, I might say that I am happy with my friends and family but when I put my head on the pillow at night I can not describe to you the feeling of fear. They took my future away from me, I was doing very well at primary then secondary school, I left school because I kept thinking that I am going to die. who or what is going to compensate me for that?
Who is going to compensate me for not being like any of Allah's creations? I feel sad, I love football but I could not play it because of my illness.

Hassan Al-Shebly, father of Zainab said: we have been suffering from this tragedy for the past 9 years, there is no crime worse than this crime, prior to the discovery of this mass infection in 1998 Benghazi's Children Hospital did not have a single case of HIV infection. There must be an investigation they must search for information to find out who is behind this tragedy that history has never seen before and will not forget ever.

Wael Ahmed Abusnina said: I am at university, I was born in 1984 i.e I am a grown up man and do realise the tragic situation I am in, medically I am dead as I am infected with a deadly virus, I keep leaving university then come back because I feel there is no point in studying, I am dead.
Psychologically I am destroyed from the inside, I will not keep quiet about my case ever, my life was stolen from me, who will compensate me for that?


MaySoon said...

May Allah be with them, 7asbi Allah Wa Ne3m Al Wakil fe elly kan elsabab!

My heart goes out to those young men & women and their families.

Libyano said...

this is the new world where the killer has rights more than the victem , it's no different than Israel and palestine .

Living Away said...

Dear Anglo…

As you know this is an issue that really upset me. I have looked a lot and since I found out about this case I read just one very small note at Red Cross International about giving the children a playground, nothing else.

Every single article is about the nurses and sometimes about the physician. Well, even about it has a preconception because the physician is an n Arab man.
I’m just wondering…do you know if those children were heard in the trial?
What I mean is: I don’t underestimate children’s intelligence at all and just come to my mind that among almost 500 children may be some or few of them have something to say about the people who were nursing them!
500 children and the world press care nothing! This is outrageous and very offensive!!

I’m so sorry for all Libyan’s families who are being completely neglected and forgotten by those fair “first world”! So sorry!!

Anglo, I was thinking about sending every single day this declaration of those families to a list of newspaper around the world. What do you think about it?
I can't be with my arms crossed anymore!


AngloLibyan said...

Thank you Maysoon, Libyano & Livingaway for your support.

Leandra I know that this issue upsets you, I have read your posts about it and as you very well know not much iformation is available about the victims since the whole world is focused on the medics!
anything that you & I & anyone can do for these children is useful and hopefully will bring some needed attention to the victims and their families.

Suliman said...

Please allow me to take a different point of view, not a view opposing the moral and financial support of the infected victims, rather a different reading of the facts on the ground.

First of all, while I agree that most media outlets have not necessarily given sufficient coverage to the humanitarian side of the case, I don't think that means the West has not been supportive. I know this might sound insensitive, but if we stick to purely humanitarian concerns, not judicial, how bad is this case in comparison to the AIDS disaster in Africa as a whole, not to focus on particular countries where the numbers are just off the charts. And from a financial perspective, why should anyone be concerned about a rich country like Libya with billions to blow left and right? Libya has much more money and a much smaller AIDS problem, even among children, in comparison to most of Africa. Does anyone give a damn about Africa? How many prime time programs has anyone seen on African children with AIDS? I am sure there were quite a few, but in proportion to the size of the disaster, I am not sure the Libyan case received any less coverage than many African cases. As I said, this might sound insensitive, but it is only meant as a way of gauging norms of humanitarian support, not meant as a measure of the value of human life.

Perhaps more important than world reaction, the lack of media coverage and institutional commitment is much more evident and devastating INSIDE Libya. Exactly when did Libyan media give fair, balanced, or even purely humanitarian coverage of the 8-year-old case? It did not happen until last December, just before the latest guilty verdict on Dec. 19th. Along the same lines, what has Libya done to publicize the case abroad? Close to nothing. Even when family representatives gave press conferences in Europe, there was very little evidence of any support. Perhaps representative of the shallowness and lack of media savvy in those conferences was the poster held up by one of the parents which had a picture of one of the children, and under it the caption read, "Why I am?," when it meant "Why me?" It is clear from that example that the parents’ campaign is running on low resources, and any effort of publicizing the humanitarian tragedy perhaps needs to be directed first at the Libyan side.

The quoted article by Zeineb Shaheen, if you read beyond the translated passages, is a clear example of the gross manipulations that characterize the captive Libyan press. In my opinion, this kind of press harms the case of the children more than it helps. The piece is absolutely riddled with government propaganda. Nearly every single parent and victim that was quoted, in addition to making statements such as translated above, also echoed the most recent ludicrous party line that the whole thing was the work of Bulgarian and Israeli intelligence! This is the view recently communicated on the Libyan government's rags through multiple editorials timed on exactly the same day and repeating the same argument almost verbatim: (1)The Bulgarian and Israeli intelligence agencies are responsible, and as if that’s not enough, (2)Anyone who sympathizes with the convicted is a partner in the crime. Those two talking points were echoed throughout the article. The interesting thing is, the "Mossad conspiracy theory," was not pursued by the courts, and in many former statements by official representatives of the victims’ families, the notion was downplayed if ever mentioned. Now, all of a sudden, and just as the official government mouthpieces decide to resurrect a dead farce, they find a cooperative choir among the families! I don't believe the family victims said all the things they were quoted on by the Libyan rag. They are not helped at all by being identified on the side of Libya's ludicrous official, and unaccountably variable party line.

I think the victim families know their best hope is not executing the nurses, and they must be certain by now about how little they can count on the Libyan government. They know because they can see the difference in care they receive in Benghazi vs. Italy, France and Switzerland. Even some Libyan freelancers have reported on the nature of these arrangements, how much the Europeans offered, and how little the Libyans did. The families also know they have a much better chance of holding Western authorities to their word than any Libyan officials. They know, the best outcome for them is a Western commitment to their medical treatment, not a Libyan one. That speaks volumes about where there is a shortage of effective, substantive support.

AngloLibyan said...

Suliman I relly thank you for your good contribution to this issue. my posts about the children have blamed the world for ignoring the children and that includes Libya, I agree Libya should finance the treatment of the victims as it is rich enough and hardly doing anything about it, my critisism is of Libya as well as the rest of the world,I have even mentioned before how Libya sent some victims to Europe thn abandone them, regarding this interview it was unfortunately the only thing I could find and as I am sure you noticed, I did not translte any of the propaganda and just kept it about the victims problems.
even if the nurses are guilty then it is Libya's fault for recruitting them.

Libyan Violet said...

You are doing a good job Anglolibyan, I cannot imagine what horror those children must be going through.

Living Away said...

I'm sorry dear Suliman, but Brasil government tried hard to break and broke the patents of Aids’s medicine! Brasil fought with Switzerland and the USA labs facing Africa problems and difficult in this area. Now, Brasil has producing and delivering those medicines to South Africa for almost 2 years without any cost.
In fact I’m so proud of my country especially in this area! Brasil is one of the few countries where AIDS is decreasing because of its effective and not mediocre at all politic of health!

Anglo, I'm making a list already and working on text to send to them. Before I send it, I would like your opnion!
I'll send the same text to the same newspaper every day!

Ema said...

May Allah bless you,
It's a tragedy without enough justice, may Allah take revenge apon all who were a part of this misery

Trabilsia said...

Need I mention again that it's childrens' lives we're talking about??? Whether they're from Libya or another country is not the question.
Children always have no choice in getting AIDS.
Adults in most cases do.
Enough of politics, blaming one side or another while nothing is being done in treating the children who are supposedly our main concern ,as they slowly die away leaving us looking for the culprits and blaming each other of what could've been............

May Allah bless you Anglo.
Take Care.

Safia speaks said...

I am not a doctor and I haven´t followed the trial on a daily basis, so all of my opinions are purely personal. There are a few things I am wondering:

How can 400 kids get infected on the same hospital with such a disease? We are not talking about a simple flu; HIV does have to be insert into blood stream to be contagious. Poor hygienic conditions are simply not enough - and I refuse to think that one or two infected needles are being used for everybody. Even if there was such situation, nurses are trained to at least bathe the needle in alcohol, if there are no other ways.

At the beginning I did not believe the conspiracy; Arabs always conspire, we know that when we read how people believe George Bush blew up WTC himself to get an excuse to invade Afghanistan! So that´s why I did not believe the story about the nurses infecting kids on purpose. Surely no nurses would ever do that?! Whar would the reason be?

But then I heard the nurses complain to international journalists about their time in prison. Again and again they told how humiliating it had been for them to share jail cells with Libyans!!! AGreed Libyan jail cells are not hotel suites like those in Europe; but by emphazing the notion that the worst torture was to share a jail cell with "the nativs" gives me an idea about how these nurses look upon Libyans as second range human beings, unworthy of civilized attention.

This is why I started thinking; maybe these nurses had the same outlook on their Libyan patients; "untermenschen" ie second degree human beings. Thus it becomes much easier to neglect higyiene, and even start acting careless. "After all, their just animals! And onece the paycheck is in the house, we´re outta here."

Not one eyebrow would be raised, had the nurses been Libyans or any other Africans working at hospitals in the US or in Europe. But now "they" have dared to apprehend "our" people!

The HIV-case clearly shows that racisms is very much alive and thriving.
Oh sure, EUrope is helping the kids with medical care - now. SHowing the world Europe is decent, civilized, different from "them". Yeah, it´s easy after having robbed the third world for centuries to play generous.

Those nurses should stay in jail every day for the rest of their lives and never again be allowed to practice medicine.

AngloLibyan said...

Libyan Violet, so good to see you here again and thank you.

Leandra, I knew about the medecines in South Africa but I had no idea that it was coming from Brazil, that is a country to be proud of.
I do support anything you do for these children and if thats what you feel you want to do then please go ahead with it.

Ameen to that, thank you Ema.

Trabilsia that is exactly my point they are children. these children did not get it from their parents practices, they were injected and thats what makes this case unique, like you I had enough of who did this, I just want to see the victims having a proper decent life as much as possible.

Safia, you do have good points there and like you I do not believe its due to unhygenic conditins, there are 1000s of unhygenic hospitals all over the world yet this only happened in one ward in one hospital with huge number of infections, I believe it was deliberate, by who or why, this is the question!
I a s soryy to find out that the nurses said that about the native prisoners anyway they have a special prison built especially for them so it can not be bad in there, in fact I am sure the new building is better than any prisons in Europe.

marie said...

I am in the US, and I stumbled across your blog from toot. This is such an outrageous tragedy. I am at such a loss for words. I remember an inkling about this case, some time back, but the media portrayal focused more on the lack of human rights avaialbe in libya, and the inhumane treatment by imprisoning doctor and nurses. I thought it was a strange news piece because what I knew of Libya was that it may have issues but these are reasonable people and would not wrongly imprison nurses and doctors.

Since reading your entry a few minutes ago I am now wondering indeed about a conspiracy. Medical personnel do need to be held accountable. There is a great power they wield and they deserve punishment for such gross negligence, if nothing else to send a message that they should have done their jobs carefully.

I pray for these children and their families. I pray that the forces of the world unite to let them know their lives are with purpose, and they are special and loved and cared for. I hope the Libyan government can set a precedent and do something extremely special for each one of these families, as well as the rest of the world uniting to let these families know they are important and not forgotten.

Thank you for a great informative blog.

AngloLibyan said...

Thank you Marie for your kind input to his awful tragedy.

Maya M said...

Leandra seems to think that scientific and technological progress will go on automatically, no matter what is done to discourage it.
If the bad Big Pharma companies cannot make profits from the anti-HIV drugs currently patented by them, what will motivate them to develop new drugs? What will happen to the AIDS patients when their virus becomes resistant to the current drugs?
My only idea: rely on drugs discovered and developed in Brazil. Not just produced there after breaking the patent.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. What should the solution be? Should the doctor and nurses be held accountable and ultimately executed?? Should no one else to blamed? Shouldn't the hospital administration be held guilty of this terrible tragedy as well?? Shouldn't the government be also accountable for what happened?Why would one doctor and seven bulgarian nurses want to kill 500 children on purpose? What would be their motive?? I truly believe this goes much deeper than just the nurses. Am I wrong?
Blu :(

Anonymous said...

I feel your absolutely correct with your assessment of the situation. could the world be blamed for this. We (as part of the world) know only what is told to us through the media.