London, United Kingdom – Ala Bashir is a celebrated Iraqi artist and surgeon who spent two decades as a personal doctor and plastic surgeon to Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi leader, and his family and inner circle.A former head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Baghdad University, Bashir was widely respected in Iraq for his work treating thousands of soldiers injured during the country’s eight-year war with Iran, which included developing new plastic surgery techniques and performing pioneering operations to reattach severed hands. He says his surrealist paintings, often dwelling on themes of mortality and fate, are particularly influenced by his experiences of the war and the horrors to which he bore witness.
I was invited to appear on HuffPost Live’s World Briefing programme on Tuesday to discuss my latest story for Al Jazeera about a scheme in Aarhus, Denmark, that aims to rehabilitate Danish Muslims returning from Syria. Here’s the video:
Aarhus, Denmark – An innovative rehabilitation programme is offering Danish Muslims in Syria an escape route from the conflict zone and help getting their lives back on track without the threat of prosecution.
The programme, a collaboration between welfare services and police in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, offers treatment for shrapnel and gunshot wounds and psychological trauma to returning fighters and humanitarian volunteers as well as assisting them with finding work or resuming their education.
The programme also provides support to the families of those already in Syria, ranging from helping them stay in touch via Skype to liaising with government officials, consulates and intelligence agencies to help get their relatives home when they decide they want to leave.