Sunday, December 11, 2011

Syria Loses its Doctor of the Revolution

Dr. Ibrahim Nahel Othman was born in 1985, the year I became a doctor. He was the youngest of several siblings and, according to his friends, his mother's favorite. Ibrahim obtained his medical degree in Damascus in 2009 and was in training to become an orthopedist when the Syrian uprising began on March 15th of this year.  A soft-spoken, popular young man who believed in non-violence, he was appalled by the loss of life and the injuries sustained by peaceful demonstrators at the hands of the Syrian security forces.  More outrageous was that many of the injured feared going to public hospitals as the security forces raided them periodically looking for and arresting the injured.  They even raided private clinics and arrested both the injured and the treating physicians.  By one account some 700 physicians have been arrested and several have died. True to his calling, Ibrahim could not stand by and watch.  He founded with other physicians the Damascus Phyisicans Coordinating Committee and became it spokesman using the pseudonym Khaled Al Hakeem.  He was instrumental in setting up dozens of secret field clinics to deal with the flood of injured at the hands of the security forces. Risking life and limb, Ibrahim ventured to other restive cities like Hama and Homs, to help set up and run field clinics. He had become the Doctor of the Revolution and his laudable humanitarian work landed him on the most wanted list of this most inhumane of regimes. Sensing his life in danger, he was making his way to the Turkish border yesterday when he was cut down, in the prime of a promising life, by the regime's henchmen outside the village of Kirbet El Joz.

This is an unspeakable personal tragedy for his family and friends, one that is unfortunately repeated dozens of time a day in Syria. The greater tragedy with the loss of young men and women like Ibrahim, intelligent, passionate and driven individuals,  is that Syria is deprived of its future leaders.

Rest in peace, Ibrahim. I  am awed and humbled by your courage and compassion. You are an inspiration to our profession and to our country.

1 comment:

Gwen said...

A terrible loss.
May be peaceful now...and let him see this conflict end soon.