Image of the Year


When I think of all the images I’ve seen this year, this is the one that sticks with me. You didn’t see this picture on American television, or in U.S. newspapers, magazines or any other U.S. media. His name is Ali Ismaeel Abbas, one of the Iraqi civilian casualties we didn’t count. And here’s what our government – with our tax dollars – did to him.

ALI Ismaeel Abbas, 12, was fast asleep when war shattered his life.

A missile obliterated his home and most of his family, leaving him orphaned, badly burned – and blowing off both his arms.

With tears running down his face he asked: “Can you help get my arms back? Do you think the doctors can get me another pair of hands? If I don’t get a pair of hands I will commit suicide.

“I wanted to be an army officer when I grow up but not any more. Now I want to be a doctor – but how can I? I don’t have hands.”

Lying in a Baghdad hospital, an improvised metal cage over his chest to stop his burned flesh touching the bedclothes, he said: “It was midnight when the missile fell on us. My father, my mother and my brother died. My mother was five months pregnant.

“Our neighbours pulled me out and brought me here unconscious.

“Our house was just a poor shack. Why did they want to bomb us?”

He did not know the area where he lived was surrounded by military installations.

Fortunately, others were willing to clean up behind the destruction we caused. He was airlifted to a hospital in Kuwait, then brought to Britain and fitted with prosthetic arms.

Why this picture? Because it reminds me of the price paid for this war we waged against a soveriegn nation that had not attacked us, had no means to attack us, and no plans to attack us. It reminds me of what we inflicte upon countless and uncounted thousands in order to get control of that country and its resources.

So, for others, the image of the year will most likely be that of a captured Saddam, who had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on 9/11 that launched the “war on terrorism” and who had no connections to any terrorist organiation, according to our own intelligence.

Fine. Let them fantasize about the ever-shifting “reasons” for waging this war. I will reflect on the unecessary price exacted in our name, and those who – though they did not volunteer to do so – paid that price.

“War is over, if you want it.”
-John Lennon, So This is Christmas

Happy Nea Year.


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2 Responses to Image of the Year

  1. Rose says:

    Thank you for posting this. It is right to acknowledge pain and suffering… Sometimes, it is all we can do. Hope you have a good New Year.

  2. Kim says:

    Of course they don’t show it, it’s a reminder of all that went wrong. That photo is very powerful, very heartwrenching. I saw a special on that boy, it must have been on t.v. a few months ago and the spirit of that boy is remarkable. Although he lost his entire family and is severly handicapped, his spirits were high considering all he has been through. Remarkable!

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