Al Jazeera

Saddam’s surgeon: ‘Iraq infected with hate and heading towards a cliff’

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.

Ala Bashir: "Was Saddam a psychopath? I think most people in power probably are. " [Copyright Simon Hooper]

Ala Bashir: “Was Saddam a psychopath? I think most people in power probably are. ” [Copyright Simon Hooper]

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.

Continue reading

Standard
HuffPost Live

Discussing Denmark’s rehab programme for Syrian fighters

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:

http://on.aol.com/video/rehab-for-isis–denmark-tries-to-reform-extremist-fighters-518407887

Standard
Al Jazeera

Danish city offers route home and rehab for Syrian volunteers

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.

 

Danish fighters in Syria appeared in a YouTube video last year.

A YouTube video made by fighters from Denmark last year showed them firing their weapons at images of prominent Danish figures.

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.

Continue reading

Standard