I first met Mary’s father as an online acquaintance. I had just written to the United Nations regarding my global intelligence files and Dad (we will call him ‘Dad’ as to protect his identity) had indicated to me that he often writes to the humanitarian organizations because his daughter Mary, who is suffering from being paralyzed in her limbs due to the result of an armed conflict that took place in 2006 in Nasiriyah City, Iraq.
My Note to Mary’s Father
“I am so sorry to hear of your story. The UN has not responded to me directly but I do know that officials are listening, I detect them monitoring me. If you would like any part of your story to reach a larger audience, I can post it on my blog which is read by Intelligence networks worldwide. I would be happy to do so.
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights:
Mary’s dad proceeded to send me the story of his little girl and the day that her life changed forever and made her handicapped. In his own words…
The Ravages of War vs. the Indomitable Will of One Little Girl
Mary had not yet turned three years old when she accompanied her father to market that day in the year 2006. With the innocence and curiosity and liveliness you might imagine in a child of her age, she was already learning to help with the family necessities. Mary did not know about “freedom fighters” or “government loyalists” or “insurgencies” or “invading forces” or “forces for liberation.” That morning, Mary’s only concern was learning about the world around her, and learning from her loving father. She had no idea, nor could even conceive of the horror that was about to befall her.
We were returning home from the market, an armed militia insurgency group decided to make their stand against American armed forces, right in the neighborhood where Mary and her siblings and mother lived. Mary’s father tried to scurry her to the safety of a neighbor’s house to avoid the flying bullets, but in the chaos of battle, before Dad could get her to safety, one of the militia members, while trying to flee the scene of battle, struck little Mary with his vehicle. She suffered trauma to her head and legs from this vehicular onslaught. The driver fled on foot, Dad gathered up his broken child and got her inside a house where they waited for the gun battle to end.
As soon as enough calm returned to his neighborhood to risk going back outside, Dad gathered his daughter in his arms and rushed home to inform a distraught family of their beloved Mary’s fate and from there took her directly to a doctor. This doctor informed Mary’s father that his daughter was now suffering paralysis, and there was little he could do.
Dad made plans to seek help at the US military base close to his neighborhood to seek a second opinion and hopefully better treatment for Mary. Unfortunately, members of the militia heard of his plans and threatened his life, and the life of the rest of his family if he sought help from Americans. A militia member texted Dad on his cell phone, and the message read “I can kill you or your sons if you go to the USA base.” This threat had to be taken seriously, and certainly gave Dad considerable pause. He chose for the time being not to go and seek help from the Americans. Meanwhile, another message came, this time in their mailbox and received by Dad’s wife, a simple bullet in an envelope left in their mailbox. The message was chilling and clear.
Dad couldn’t live with the threats to his family, or the condition this tragedy had left his little daughter to contend with, and was compelled to sell his home to escape the militia who was threatening them. After two moves, Dad decided to risk carrying his daughter to the hospital where adequate treatment could be obtained. Help was obtained, but the results have been a mixed blessing. Dad has spent more than the equivalent of $8,000 of money he could ill afford for the treatment of his child. He has had to move his family and give up his work to escape the wrath of the insurgent militia.
Mary has been brave. She has grown, gone to school. She has contended with bullies that made fun of her injuries. She has suffered from frequent headaches and sensitivity to light due to the head trauma; has never regained full mobility of the legs, and although videos of her physical therapy show a valiant attempt to learn to be mobile without the crutches or wheelchairs she has depended upon most of her life.
Mary is determined to succeed in her life. Now, twelve years later, still dealing with pain and loss of mobility of his daughter, Dad has heard of treatments in the United States that might help her live a normal life. He only asks to be given the opportunity to try.
My Response to Mary’s Dad
“Thank you for taking the time to relay this story of your daughter Mary. However, we should also be grateful that she is still alive and her beautiful spirit still shines bright here for us in our days.
The darker side of humanity is something I am sadly all too familiar with but the Holy Spirit is greater and the Divine connects us all through LOVE. I always try to remember this. Trauma and physical/emotional pain is something else I am all too familiar with as myself and my former boss, Barclays investment banker, Edmund JM Dunne are also survivors of torture and trauma.
I think it is very important to put these words out there for the world to know.
Remember that you are blessed that you are still able to hold little Mary’s hand and look into her lovely eyes. Please tell her that an American lady understands some of her difficulties and that I am sending both of you, and your family, a big ‘bear hug’. Now knowing her through this testimony, I will carry the thoughts of her forever in my heart.
Love and blessings,
In another note to Mary’s father.
“Your poor daughter is an innocent little girl that ended up suffering, just like me, due to man’s greed and violence. I will think of her always.
I think of Mary everyday. I am tangled in very heavy work at the moment. I think the military has finally stepped in but not sure cuz I am civilian.
Please tell Mary that I do this work for her so that what happened to her never happens to anyone ever again. – CMC
The date of incident in April 2006, location of incident in Nasiriyah City, Iraq
Ever since I had this exchange with Mary’s father, I have carried this young 12 year- old girl around with me in my thoughts, especially when I am out for my evening walk, something that Mary cannot do. Does she ever question the unfairness of her circumstances? How does she come to terms with what has happened to her?
One thing is for certain, children should not be the victims in the wars of men and fathers should not be threatened when seeking healing for a child.
My Last Note to Mary’s Father:
“Please let Mary know that I continue to think of her often and this is one reason that I love the Internet…all the way across the world, a little girl made her way into my heart.”
Artwork by Jerry Lee Frost, used with permission.