By JACK HEALY
BAGHDAD —It is said, war is very cruel. Whole human being, its culture and psychology infected. When I read the story of Jack Healy on the New York Times about the Iraq war then I remembered the Nepal's 10 years long People's War. I remembered so many characters who lost their dreams, their happiness, family members, neighbor,and their organ of the body. I remembered Namuna sister who lost her hand.
Just I curtsy from New York Times, just for you.
As long as they can remember, Sadiq Ali and Mohammed Ahmed have been inseparable. They grew up on the same block in western Baghdad. Walked each other to school. Dreamed about being soccer stars. And they were playing video games together at an outdoor arcade when a rocket whipped down from the sky and sprayed the boys with fire and shrapnel.
Ayman Oghanna for The New York Times
Four years later, the two friends’ lives are a measure of this war’s enduring toll on Iraq’s children. Untold thousands have been wounded by rockets and car bombs, in street battles or cross-fire, and an additional 800,000 have lost at least one parent, according to United Nations estimates.
They are one of the most poignant legacies of eight years of fighting. With social services still in tatters, parents, officials and nonprofit groups say the Iraqi government has been unable to provide many of these children with shelter, counseling, medical care.
But they are also reminders of resilience. As other friendships have eroded and their families’ attention has gradually drifted back to everyday preoccupations, Mohammed, 14, and Sadiq, 15, have never left each other’s side, heading together toward an uncertain adulthood, on donated crutches and a yellow prosthetic leg.
“They share everything,” said Mohammed’s father, Ahmed Shwadi. “They are stronger together.”
Sadiq, with the shaggy hair and easy grin of a preteen pop singer, is the outgoing one who bounced back faster. He urges Mohammed to wear his artificial leg, even though it cracks and buckles.
Mohammed, wiry with a bashful smile, was the one who shrank into himself, retreating to the rooftop as other children played outside. A good student who wants to become an engineer, he tried to keep Sadiq on track at school when the boys returned after months of recovery.
In lighter moments, they scuffle while playing soccer and debate which of them is more like the Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo. They joke that they can now share the same pair of shoes. They try to keep each other from letting their anger erupt, or from slipping into the memory of the explosion.
“It’s better to forget,” Mohammed said.
A small nonprofit in the boys’ neighborhood of Shoula — a dusty assortment of auto repair shops, emblems to Shiite clerics and scavenging flocks of sheep — has donated prosthetic limbs and crutches to the friends, though Sadiq and Mohammed say the ill-fitting limbs rub their flesh raw.
The boys’ families said they learned quickly the price of being wounded. While trauma surgeries are free, nearly everything else — from wheelchairs to antibiotics, painkillers and visits to private clinics — must be bought.
One mother, Nour Hamed, said she had to buy pints of AB-positive blood from a local blood bank for her 2-year-old son, whose skull had a piece gouged out by a car bomb. Doctors told her the hospital had no free blood to spare.
“Not just blood — they even have to buy the syringes,” said Intisar Ali al-Jabour, head of Parliament’s committee on families and children. “The government is supposed to be responsible. They’re not serious in dealing with these people.”
Ms. Hamed, the mother who bought blood, said the hole in her son’s skull had not been repaired. Another boy’s bullet-shattered knee was partly reconstructed with a piece of his rib, but doctors told the family they did not have the tools or money to build a new joint.
Or there is Moussa Kadim, 13, wounded two years ago in the cross-fire of a gunfight between rival militias. His right arm still hangs in a sling, numb and atrophied. His family could not pay to travel abroad for surgery. Moussa has been learning how to eat and write with his left hand.
After years of violence and insurgency, about 3,000 children with slain parents have ended up in sometimes threadbare orphanages run by the government or aid groups. Others have moved in with extended family. But uncounted thousands thread the streets of Baghdad and other cities, where they sleep in bombed-out buildings, scavenge trash heaps and sell sesame candies and boxes of rose-red tissues to passing cars
The government has set up committees to compensate wounded children and adults, but it can take three or four years of filling out forms and appearing at hearings to receive about $2,000, advocates and lawmakers said.
With killings down by as much as 90 percent since the bloodiest era, fewer children are being maimed. According to the United Nations, 475 children have been wounded since the spring of 2009, when it began keeping a tally. Iraq’s Health Ministry withheld its figures.
For Sadiq’s and Mohammed’s families, paying for new prosthetics is a struggle as the boys outgrow their old ones. And in a country with 20 percent unemployment, in a neighborhood where boys grow up to haul cinder blocks, drive taxis or build houses, they worry about their sons.
“I see what’s happened to young men with the same problems,” Mohammed’s father said. “They are so poor, so in need. Whenever I see them, I think of Mohammed. I can’t do much for him. I don’t have any money. All I can do is make sure he does well at school.”
For now, Mohammed is on that path, but his friend is falling behind.
After missing several months of school, Sadiq fell behind and failed two years in a row. He was transferred to a crowded afternoon seminar where students range from teenagers to 30-year-olds.
One recent afternoon, the boys found the schools gates barred, with students and teachers waiting outside. There had been no classes for a week, and Sadiq wanted to know whether he had passed his latest exams. “Where are my grades?” he asked.
“I’ve got a thousand students to deal with,” the principal, Abed al-Kinani, told the boy. “I haven’t finished yours.”
With classes canceled once again, the boys played soccer a few hundred yards from where the rocket landed. Sadiq loped after the ball while Mohammed pirouetted on his crutches, knocking point after point through a goal demarcated by chunks of concrete.
“This is the best part of the day,” Sadiq said.