In Memorial: Wafa Faozi

On the evening of Tuesday, July 26, 2011, I met with the parents of Wafa Faouzi, an eleven year old girl from the city of Kufra, Libya, to learn from them how it was that their daughter became an innocent victim of Gaddafi’s war against civilians. According to Wafa’s parents, on the morning of May 25, 2011, Wafa was playing in the yard with her siblings, cousins, and neighbors. The children were taking turns on the swing. I was surprised by the fact that children were allowed to be outdoors during a time of war. Her parents explained to me that any and all fighting that they had heard of in the city of Kufra took place in the city center, and not in the outskirts of the city where they reside. Additionally, the city of Kufra was liberated by freedom fighters early during the revolution and by May was considered to be under anti-Gaddafi control. However, at around 11:00 am on May 25, 2011, fighting took place nearby their home between pro and anti-Gaddafi forces. Shots were fired. In response to the gun shot sounds, the children all ducked for cover, with the exception of Wafa who was swinging. A single bullet entered from underneath her right axilla and exited from underneath her left axilla and Wafa collapsed. The children in the yard began screaming. Wafa’s mother rushed outside, expecting to find that one of the children had been stung by a scorpion (a common occurrence in Kufra), but instead found her daughter covered in blood. Wafa’s father rushed out and immediately drove his daughter to the Kufra hospital. After two days, Wafa’s parents drove her to Benghazi, for her medical condition required treatment that could not be provided at the Kufra hospital. Wafa and her parents left Kufra on May 27, 2011 and drove to Benghazi. Her parents explained that they were very fearful that Gaddafi forces would stop them on their way to Benghazi, but they were desperate to save their child. They arrived safely to Benghazi later that same day. They stayed 47 days in Benghazi before traveling to Tunisia. During their stay in Benghazi, they learned that Wafa had damage to her esophagus and spinal cord. Wafa’s mother always tried to feed her daughter and never understood why it was she couldn’t swallow until the diagnosis was made that damage was inflicted to her esophagus. Additionally, she begged her daughter to stand up and walk and never understood why it was that she couldn’t until the diagnosis was made that Wafa’s spinal cord had been damaged. On August 2, 2011, Polyclinique Les Berges du Lac produced a medical report for Wafa that explained that she suffered from a gunshot wound that caused trauma to the thoracic spine at D3 with complete paraplegia and chest trauma, specifically an esophageal wound and a right bronchopleural fistula. On the morning of Tuesday, August 9, 2011 Wafa passed away at Polyclinique Les Berges du Lac. This news came from her father. Wafa’s parents took their daughter’s body and traveled to Benghazi via aircraft that same day. Inna lilah wa ilayhee rajioon

Wafa’s past medical reports are available here.

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