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The Horror….. January 21, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, sadness, sickness, Society.
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….I hate it when we find this kind of stuff out about the people we are supposed to be helping. 

Lt. Colin McCormack, the Navy doctor who runs the clinic at Patrol Base Jaker, looked closely under the big light at the girl’s tiny, ruined feet. Third-degree burns on both soles glowed bright red. All 10 toes were gone.

“What happened?” McCormack asked through an interpreter.

“She just dropped into the cooking fire,” her father replied. It had happened three months ago, he said, and he’d sought medical help then. She’d been in a hospital for two weeks in Lashkar Gah, he said. Then they sent her home, and her toes fell off.

There was no sign of infection, McCormack said, and so there was little more that could be done for the child than to clean her feet, apply a thick coating of antibiotic cream, bandage her up and hand her back to her father.

But McCormack and his medics weren’t happy about it.

“Once again, the mechanism of injury and the explanation doesn’t make sense,” the doctor said. “I suspect something else happened.”

He noted that the burn went all the way around one ankle, like a sock — a “circumferential” burn strongly indicating someone had held her leg in boiling liquid and that the child had not been able to recoil from the pain.

“More likely than not,” McCormack said, “this was punishment.”

According to a 2009 U.S. State Department human rights report on Afghanistan, child abuse is “endemic” in the country, based on “cultural beliefs about child-rearing.”

“In extreme examples of child abuse,” the report said, “observers reported several instances of deliberately burned children in Paktia; the children sustained burns after their parents submerged them in boiling water.”

In the space of just three months, McCormack and his medics have treated a dozen Afghan children under 5 suffering from burns that they suspect were caused intentionally, by scalding.

“It’s a disturbing thing to see a 3- to 5-year-old that’s been abused,” McCormack said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

“I despise these people,” said a medic who declined to be named

In Francis Ford Coppolla’s brilliant take on Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now, Col. Walter Kurtz, USA, loses his mind after seeing the brutality of the VietCong.  It sends him into his own horrific spiral of violence and barbarism, in his desperate attempt to defeat people who were capable of such savagery – and he became completely savage himself, in the process.

I pray this is not happening to the wonderful men and women in our armed forces who have to see this horror.

Perhaps, in your charity, you would consider saying prayers for all those who must experience horror in the daily occupations – police, firefighters, military, emergency room staff, etc.  I pray that they may be strengthened in their great giving vocations and that they may unite their sufferings with those of Christ to bring great Graces into their lives.

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