Taiz, Yemen–Pardon me, I know this story will make you so sad. But you have to share the pain I feel. The right leg of the little girl in the picture, Abrar, had been cut off by Houthis, a month ago. Since then she has cried because she couldn’t go to school. That wasn’t all. Now she is in the hospital because of shrapnel from a shell fired by the Houthis and Saleh’s militia in the Addahy neighborhood of Taiz.
Our hospital has many miserable stories besides Abrar’s. In the third bed, first room in the bone section there is a bus driver whose dream was to become a footballer. Now his leg is hanging without a joint. His ambition reminded me of Karlos Baka, a bus driver who became a skilled footballer. Unfortunately, Mohammed’s dream won’t come true. He became disabled instead.
On the fifth bed in the neurology section there is a mathematics teacher. He works in his grocery store part-time in the afternoon. The war damaged his store and a fragment from a shell fired by the Houthis and Saleh’s militia smashed his head.
Another man called Abu Arkan misses his little son and his second son, Arkan, had his leg cut off by a shell fragment. But that wasn’t enough for the Houthis. They took his bike too, which was his only source of income. He sold his refrigerator to get medicine for his sons. I couldn’t contact him for a long time. I was told he sold his phone to get medicine and food. I’m too sad and feel helpless.
We aren’t used to telling the truth. We usually say that we are good, whereas the fact is that we are getting killed. We tell the patients that they are good in spite of the fact that we know that they have no real chance to live.
Even Freddie Quell, the survivor of the Second World War in the film The Master, in spite of the spiritual ruin and the trouble he lived through during the war, would feel a deep sorrow for our situation. He would offer us help. He would smuggle some ampoules beneath his underwear that aren’t available in Taiz.
Actually, I’m not able to bear this pain. Only the shroud seller will ignore this misery. Even Kafka, the best reader of the miserable details of daily life, would be exhausted by this horrific situation we are living. Gregor, a character in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, would feel compassion for us. And he would take part as a volunteer.
I’m frustrated. Is there anyone who can give me a glimmer of hope? Enough, enough. Pardon me. I’m not able to talk to anyone. I’ll stay and talk to myself.
–Ahmed Domainy, a Yemeni doctor
Translated by Khaled Al-Hamdani