A year ago, when the second Gulf Warstarted, MER-C sent their first paramedic team to the conflict area in Iraq. Four MER-C volunteers travelled to Iraq via Jordan, bringing aid donated from the Indonesian community. The MER-C team operated in the heart of Baghdad, helping victims of the war. When the majority of the volunteer team left Iraq, they gave the ambulance to those members of the team who chose to stay on in Iraq.
One of the volunteers that had been given the task of operating the MER-C ambulance was Abu Ibrahim. Ever since the formation of MER-C's Middle Eastern team based in Palestine, Abu Ibrahim was active in MER-C's activities, especially those involving the conflict in Iraq. He was also active in Palestine, where MER-C had previously donated an ambulance to the Palestinian people.
Although the US has declared the end of the war in Iraq and Saddam Hussein has been captured, in reality the conflict in Iraq continues to this day and continues to take the lives of both US and Iraqis. The US has increased its troop presence in several regions of Iraq, including that of Fallujah. As has been reported by the world's media, US troops are currently involved in combat near Fallujah.
MER-C based its volunteer, Abu Ibrahim, in Fallujah. On Friday, April 9th, Abu Ibrahim was driving the ambulance with 3 patients on board. The victims were on their way to Fallujah's main hospital to receive futher medical treatment, but their lives came to an end when their ambulance was hit by a US jet fighter.
Since the formation of MER-C, this is the first time that a volunteer has died while serving in the field. This is a risk that every individual who has volunteered for MER-C has to take and is aware of. However, this tragedy has not diminished MER-C's goal of sending a second team to Iraq in the near future.
MER-C accepts donation for the war victims in Iraq. Please send all donations to:
Bank Muamalat Indonesia -- Sudirman
Atas nama MER-C
No. Rek. 301.00522.15
Sadly, this confirms the previous reports I made about US attacks on ambulances in Fallujah. One of the American relief workers who snuck into Fallujah last week has provided photographs of a sniper attack on an ambulance.
In other news from Iraq, Dahr Jamail, one of those who snuck into Fallujah to document what they saw inside the city has written an excellent/infuriating post from Iraq, this time documenting the raiding of a mosque by U.S. forces.
While I do want to make it clear that U.S. soldiers are far from horned devils and generally do their best to behave in a professional and conscientious manner, the ultimate truth of Iraq is that the "good news" about what the U.S. does in Iraq doesn't count for much, so long as the bad news about what U.S. forces do is as bad as it has been lately.
As I told slixair, an Illinois National Guard reservist who is in Iraq and is pissed as hell about having his tour-of-duty extended recently:
"You're surrounded by 25,000,000 Iraqis, and all you need is a tenth of 1% of those Iraqis hating Americans at any one time to make your life hell. Thing is, you can't kill that tenth of 1% without either pissing off or unintentionally hurting the other 99.9% of Iraqis out there."
People should read slixair's journal, if they want some real insight on what it's like to be a U.S. soldier in Iraq right now. Pretty depressing. Pretty angry. I sure hope they get units like Slixair's out of Iraq before the Summer, or things could get really ugly.