İt was spring 2007 in northern Iraq when 6-year-old Saja Saleem ran home from school with good news about her progress in school. She hoped to receive a gift her father had promised her. “İ found myself spinning into the air…after a loud boom,” Saleem, now age 17, told The Associated Press. Saleem lost her eyesight, right arm and an ear in the explosion. The cause was a roadside bomb. Months later, her injuries forced her to leave school after other students criticized her “scary face.”
Saleem recently turned to social media to find help. Eventually, her appeal captured the attention of a doctor who offered free medical care.
Other Iraqis have also turned to social media.
Emotional videos and pictures of people with war wounds and other disabilities have appeared on Facebook and other social media websites.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition and the violence that followed left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis wounded. That number increased with the 2014-2017 conflict against Islamic State forces. Many Iraqis have lost arms or legs. Their suffering continues long after the violence ended.
Poor quality medical services, few specialized doctors or medical centers, and poverty have added to the suffering. Those who cannot get treatment at state-supported hospitals and those who find private doctors too costly are turning to social media to make appeals.
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