Lydia Phillips

>Preemptive Love and the Second Generation of Genocide

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm


Since I’ve been here in Iraq I’ve been working toward a photo essay that could somehow mediate between the kids dying of congenital heart disease in Kurdistan and the rest of the world. Iraq’s high number of children with heart disease is most frequently attributed to Saddam Hussein’s chemical attacks, intrafamily marriage, and poor prenatal care. An underfunded, undereducated health care system perpetuates the problem.
Though all of these circumstances are intertwined, it’s the first of these causes that compels me so strongly. Every kid I meet born with a hole in their heart reminds me that chemical warfare still rages. Every baby who turns blue when she starts to cry forces me to see the legacy that violence leaves behind. I hate this, I hate the repercussions of war that these children (and their parents) are forced to bear.
The Preemptive Love Coalition exists in opposition to these acts of war and in support of peace between communities, peoples, and nations at odds. Most tangibly, these goals manifest as life-saving heart surgeries for Iraqi children with congenital heart disease.
So this is it, as it stands now. Its not finalized but I wanted to put it out there and hear your thoughts. So please, critique…
Second Generation Genocide

An empty crib sits in Soziar Hamdan’s living room. At 20 months old, Soziar has already had her first heart surgery, creating a shunt to re-route blood from her aorta to the pulmonary artery in efforts to bypass oxygen-poor blood from the heart directly to the lungs. In 5 years Soziar will need at least one more surgery to fully correct her multi-faceted condition.

Ahmed Bakhtyar, 10, aims a toy pistol at his mother in the living room. In addition to a large hole between the lower chambers of his heart, Ahmed was born with his major arteries reversed and without a pulmonary valve. The Preemptive Love Coalition sent him to surgery last summer but the single operation wasn’t enough to heal his multiple complications. Though he is in desperate need of a second surgery, doctors are hesitant to address Ahmed’s high risk condition as it is unlikely he will survive another operation and recovery.
Dr. Aso Faiq uses an echocardiograph to view an infant’s heart. Dr. Aso is the only pediatric cardiologist in northern Iraq and he screens as many as 150 children a week for heart disease.
Yahyah Omar, right, plays a video game with his neighbor while his parents discuss treatment options for their son’s heart conditions. The hole in the septum between his lower heart chambers is intensified by a reversed pulmonary artery and aorta. He was also born without a pulmonary valve; the replacement valve will cost his parents an extra $5000 alone.
Clubbing in the fingers and toes is one of the most obvious symptoms of a heart/lung defect. Malabsorption of oxygen into the blood stream causes this deformity, which worsens over time.
PLC sent Honya Mahdi to surgery in Turkey last December. She was born with a hole in between the bottom two chambers of her heart, known as a large ventricular septal defect (VSD). The patch-up was a relatively simple but urgent operation, if left alone she would have soon been inoperable. Today she is healthy and happy!
Though she is nearly two years old, Soziar Harmen still has not learned to walk. Heart defects stunt growth and development, largely due to a severe lack of oxygen to the brain. Soziar suffers from tricuspid atresia and a large ventricular septal defect (VSD), with severe artery stenosis.
Klash-maker, Kak Aram, is reflected in a mirror in his shoe store. Aram has worked with the Preemptive Love Coalition to sell handmade Kurdish shoes to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi kids for over a year. Aram is an invaluable asset to PLC as a shoemaker and an example of local solution to a growing problem.

Nvar Latif, 8, makes faces with her father while her brother looks off. Physical exhaustion from her 4-fold heart complication, Tetralogy of Fallot, forces Nvar to spend most of her day inside. The Preemptive Love Coaltion is funding her life-saving heart surgery in Istanbul this month, just in time for her 9th birthday.
-Lydia O’Neil Bullock
  1. >Very nice, Lydia.

  2. >I think they are all very successful. The only one that actually needs the text in order to make total sense is the one of Soziar. Honya Madi's is my favorite.

  3. >Very nice. Very eye-opening. Very moving. (Mom writing from Dad's computer.)

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