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February 26, 2007

One Iraqi Refugee


Since the Iraq war began in 2003, more than 2 million refugees have fled that country. To date, the US has admitted only 466. But last week, Washington announced it would speed up the process for admitting Iraqi refugees.

One woman hoping to enter the country is Nour al-Khal. She spoke to Dick Gordon from an undisclosed location, out of concerns for her own safety. She was shot while working with American journalist, Steven Vincent, who was killed in the assassination attempt. 

When I was bleeding, I turned my head to see whether Steven was alive or not. I thought he was alive. But then, he was not moving, you know.
- Nour al-Khal

Dick also talks with Lisa Ramaci, Steven Vincent's widow.

My greatest fear was that I would see him on video being beheaded.
When I got home to find the e-mail, Steven was already dead, but nobody knew it because he had been killed just around midnight.
Lisa Ramaci

Lisa is working to help secure Nour's admission into the United States.


Michael Slater wrote to tell us of his profession. 

I heard on the program (on WBEZ Chicago) that you were interested in stories of people doing difficult jobs. I work night shifts as an emergency physician in an urban trauma center "safety net" hospital. I and my colleagues collect lots of stories. 

One story: A 14 year old girl was brought in, dead on arrival, at 2 am with a gunshot that traversed her chest from one side to the other. Her physical appearance (particularly her underwear--more what one would expect of a centerfold model than of a young teen) was more adult than her years. Her 18 year-old gang-banger boyfriend had used her as a human shield when a rival gang came along on a drive-by shooting.

I sat in our family conference room telling her sobbing parents that she had died, hearing them ask over and over again, "How could this have happened?" 

But Michael says that the rewards are great.

I love what I do. I love the intellectual challenge, teaching medical students and resident physicians, and the chance to make a difference, albeit a small one, on a daily basis. The work is difficult, though. 

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