May 21, 2018
SYRIA: A Story of Courage and Humanity Against All Odds
21st Century Wire says…
This is a story of courage and of resilience. It is the story of so many Syrians in the last seven years. Each story is heartbreaking and a reminder of the legacy of suffering our governments have inflicted upon these people. This is the story of a young Syrian soldier, Ali Suleiman Baloul who was born in 1993 far from the din of war but who was forced, like so many others, to face the darkness of terrorism during the long years of conflict.
It is a story simply but poignantly told by a friend in Damascus, Wissam Sliman:
“Heart, that small machine , is a city of feelings and a universe of sacrifice and humanity. But when it comes to the homeland, that little one becomes as wide as the sky and vast as the land with the same familiar smell and tender smile …
I will pick from the alphabet letters that have the strongest sounds and —— can carry the meanings of humanity to tell you the story of a hero from my country
Ali Suleiman Baloul. A young Syrian from a village called #Zabrakan, a small village belonging to the city of #Safita in #Tartous province. He was born in 1993 into a hardworking family that eats their bread baked with the sweat of their foreheads, and had a simple upbringing .
One day, he left with a kiss on his mother’s forehead, left the warmth of his home and family to join the heroes of the Syrian Arab army in confronting the coldness of terrorism .
Ali participated with his colleagues in the Syrian Arab Army in planting tournaments on the land of Syria in the war against terrorism and its supporting sponsors of Western and Arab governments led by the ruling regime in the United States of America. Their terror filled Syrians’ hearts with many wounds and scars that will never be healed and brought tears so that we will never forget its heat no matter how long we live.
In mid-2013, Ali was shot in his left leg in battle with terrorist groups in Khan al-Asal ( the famous Khan al-Asal ) in the countryside of Aleppo, a city that had suffered a great deal of terrorism in the past years before being liberated by the Syrian Arab Army.
After two months of treatment, the wounded man recovered and returned to continue the battle in the countryside of Aleppo once again along with his comrades, not caring about his pain .
On June 6, 2016, after five years in the battlefield with his fellow soldiers , five years of hardship that nobody can feel if they don’t know what is it to wake up to the sounds of bullets and fall asleep to the same .
Ali received with his body a thermal missile fired by the hatred of criminal killers while he was standing like a mountain behind a machine gun mounted on a four-wheel vehicle, defending Aleppo, its people, its castle , its history, its civilization , and all of the Syrian people.
The hateful parts of terrorism carried by that rocket penetrated his body that had been ready at every moment to receive pain and death in exchange for the protection of his land. Destiny did not steal his life or spirit this time , however it stole one very precious thing , it was his sight that was stolen ….
He was taken to a military hospital in Damascus. However, the economical terrorism practiced by some Western and Arab regimes against Syria had deprived him of adequate treatment, making it impossible for him to be treated in Syria since these regimes believe that Syrians have no right to live and to be healed … But they didn’t know that for Syrians , the well of life is planted deep in the ground like an Oak tree that nobody can uproot , and no matter how terrifying they will not be able to kill the breaths of life that reach the limits of the sky ……
I have known Ali since he was young. He lived next door to my house , as my youngest brother’s friend , he was always a second youngest brother for me . When Ali’s family called me and informed me of what happened, my chest tightened on my heart, suffocating it ….
They didn’t know at that time how dangerous his injury was , had no knowledge that their beloved son was to lose something so precious , his eyes, and neither did I …..
Syrians lost many of their beloved ones in this brutal war. Every time a person is injured, kidnapped, or martyred, time stops here in the land of civilizations and history, every time this happens, hands are raises to heaven, calling God for it to be the last time, the last blood lost , to be the last sorrow … calling doves of peace to return , to start collecting wheat from the hearts’ spikes that were planted with joy and safety, the bring back the shadow of their wings on playgrounds and childhoods , so that spring blossoms in the land of Syria again with hope and life ….
On my way to visit the wounded hero for the first time I was trying to arrange what to say to him , no consolation is enough for his loss. What can you say to someone who has lost his sight defending you!!? In which light my voice reaches him !? and what color my hand will wear when touching him !!?
I entered Ali’s house, kissed and hugged him and stood in front of him, in front of his sacrifice. He was smiling and laughing throughout my visit . He said to me repeatedly:
He did not feel sad. He told me that there were many young people who sacrificed their lives for Syria and for the Syrian people , and that what he did was so small …..
Throughout that session I felt that the younger brother I told you about, the younger brother sitting in front of me became older, became a man and defended me , my family and all of us, I felt that he became my older brother ….
My heart was about to speak, but in front of the smile on his face that was drawn with pride and hope, I stood speechless, as if the light that was stolen just changed the place of its presence from his eyes to his whole body …..
Many Syrians have sacrificed their lives and parts of their bodies so that we Syrians can continue to see through our lives. Every part of their bodies which was lost became a beacon for us , killed the darkness which terrorism tried to drown our hearts and our land in. The darkness that we have never had anything in common with , and we never will …
The long journey to seek treatment began and was full of difficulties. It is not easy for that simple family to find answers to many difficult questions. How can they know which countries to go to ? In which famous hospital can they find their way? What are the names of their doctors and their specialties and how to reach them ??!!! do they admit this kind of injury? Is this particular situation treatable? And the biggest question was how they would afford treatment that could cost far more than they could ever imagine!
After a long search on the Internet and after listening to a video published by Russia Today channel of a professor of medicine called Ernest Moldachev, whom is the director of a medical center named AlloPlant Eye Surgery in the city of Ufa capital of the Republic of Bashkortstan in Russia , Ali felt that his treatment will be on this doctor’s hands. The will of light in his heart moved him the moment he heard this video , then Ali posted on his facebook page that he needed help to reach this doctor.
Many of those who had heard of Ali’s story didn’t stand idle. He was able, with their help, to reach two great Syrians living in St. Petersburg, Russia,Dr. Eng. Mousa Eid and Dr. Shadi Wannous who helped Ali to contact AlloPlanet Hospital. His village and neighboring villages had secured enough money for him to travel to Russia and carry out the first phase of treatment and then return.
The two doctors, Shadi and Mousa, were the link between the hospital and Ali, delivering all necessary tests and pre-travel procedures. The hospital sent an invitation to Ali and his escort Nasser (his cousin) to speed up the process of obtaining a visa to Russia on time.
Before traveling, the hospital informed Ali that treatment of cases similar to his condition may require several operations that may reach 5 or 6 operations and the length of time between an operation and the next was nearly six months.
The first trip to Russia began on September 13, 2017, it was a full of surprises and stories that bore in its details some of the most humanitarian acts , and at the end of it was the biggest surprise.
Waiting for the wounded soldier and his cousin at the airport of the city of Ufa was Fawaz al-Shaer, a Syrian who had come from Aleppo, the city which Ali was wounded defending. Fawaz was studying medicine in Russia . The three men took a car sent by the hospital to bring them from the airport and there they met a friend of mine from the city of Ufa called Nelya Migranova whom we had previously contacted and asked for help. The Russian young lady did not hesitate to tell us that she would do her best to secure everything that the travelers may need during their stay in her city, which pleased all of us.
During the first stage of the treatment, Fawaz al-Shaer was a great help to Ali and Nasser, he was a translator, a companion and a friend, doing this all for free . They told me when they got back to Syria that he was helping them to fulfill all their needs and he refused to even accept the fair for taxi’s they had taken between the hospital and their place of residence. He wandered with them in leisure throughout the beautiful city, telling them about its history and taking pictures with them.
One evening, during my daily conversation with Ali and Nasser, he told me that Fawaz won’t be able to be with them the day after for reasons beyond his control and that they could not find an interpreter. They needed help because they had to follow a timetable written in Russian while they only speak Arabic. This timetable contains dates and places of examinations and exercises that must be carried out within the treatment plan .
We agreed to ask my friend Nelya, who speaks Russian and English, to come the next morning and I would be with them as well on the telephone. Nelya would translate from Russian to English and then I would translate from English to Arabic, and vice versa. Indeed we were able to complete all the procedures that day successfully after a call that lasted more than 7 hours and was exhausting for all of us . Nelya’s help was invaluable. The treatment program that day included numerous tests, reviews and questions from doctors and nurses, as well as instructions to be followed by my injured friend after returning to Syria , and Nelya had remembered every detail she was told and had explained it all to us at the end of the day.
At the first meeting between Professor Moldachev and our wounded hero, the professor told him that he loves Syria and that he had visited it several times, once being in 2005.
On September 18, 2017, the professor performed the first operation and it was successful . However, that day was a great surprise for the travelers . The professor told them that after hearing the story of Ali , he decided to pay for all the costs of the operation .
I could not believe this news, I felt very happy, that was heartwarming and unbelievable !!!!
On September 28th , the wounded hero returned to Syria with his cousin Nasser and brought with them all the hope in the world that Ali will be able to see the light again on the hands of this wonderful amazing humanitarian doctor .
The second stage of the treatment began on the 16th of April, where the wounded hero arrived in Ufa again with his cousin Nasser. Upon their arrival in Ufa they were met by a Syrian called Ruslan Al-Hilal, who is studying for his masters in oil engineering and comes from the city of Deir Al-Zour. Ruslan was there to help the guys the same as Fawaz Al-Sha’er had done earlier , and he is now with them in Ufa, helping them overcome the ordeals of treatment.
On the 20th of this month, the day set for the second surgery , Professor Moldachev met with the guys and told them that he was aware of what is happening in Syria and that he stands by the Syrian people in the war against terrorism and appreciates the courage of the wounded hero by sacrificing his eyes to defend his country . After this meeting , the professor’s secretary informed the guys once he had left that the professor had written on the medical file: “all the costs of this operation, and additional costs to be paid from my personal account.” that was extraordinary and unbelievable as the cost of this amounts to thousands of dollars!
My heart could not widen enough to contain my joy about what Professor Muldashev had just done and the space of our souls couldn’t absorb the humanity that this professor carries in his rich depth and lofty spirit. His contribution is invaluable and is certainly far beyond its material value.
Professor Moldachev completed what the Russian people had started, they provided all sorts of support to the Syrian people and the Syrian state during the war on our beloved Syria , and he for sure completed the image of the country that embodied love and goodness by all his citizens.
On behalf of our wounded hero, his cousin and his family, and on behalf of all of us Syrians, I provide my sincere thanks and appreciation to Professor Ernest Moldachev. In fact, we Syrians are incapable of expressing our feelings about what you have given to our hero. Your morals and humanity have exceeded every potential and we are very proud of you.
Ali and his family , Nasser and I also thank Dr. Shadi Wannous, Dr. Mousa Eid, Mr. Fawaz Al-Sha’er, Miss Nella Migranova, Mr. Ruslan Hilal and everyone who contributed in providing any assistance to Ali .
Finally, Syria is the country of civilization, love, and heritage. It has always been, and will remain immune and full of pride and flourishing history of you .. of your arms Syrian Arab Army Heroes , your strength and your love, which is bound by your pure blood, your shining light and of everyone who stands with the right to face all terrorism, violence and murder. ..
Long live our heroes , and long live Syria in our hearts …..
This article was composed upon request from Ali to be written so that he may personally express his appreciation and gratitude to Professor Muldachev as well as all of the people who helped him to carry out his treatment in any way, some of them have been mentioned here and many we were not able to mention . I decided to add the details of the story (with the help of my friend, the amazing writer Areeg Saoud ) to show how life is treating Syrians, to give an example of what we have been facing in this war, and to indicate the humanitarianism , and hope that at the end of this journey Ali will restore his sight so that he will be able to see again.”
Thank you to Wissam Sliman in Damascus for all photographs used in this article.