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Friday, February 27, 2004

"Wounded" in a Pigua

From Aish.com via Smooth Stone
You probably heard about the suicide bombing that brutally claimed the lives of eleven Israeli bus passengers two weeks ago. One of the victims was a young woman with whom I worked until just a few weeks ago. Her name was Dana Itach. She was completely blown to pieces. They identified her by her teeth.

There were dozens more who were pulverized, crushed, scalded and sliced open but who managed to survive. One of them is a friend with whom I only recently became acquainted. His is a story you may not have heard.

I visited him in the hospital the day after the bombing. Very weak, eyebrows singed off entirely, face splattered with blackened blood stains and red lacerations, he opened his eyes just after I walked into the hospital room.

When I saw him I tried to put on an appropriate expression that would hide my fear at seeing his wounds. And I had no idea what to say. But by the time I was by his bed, he relieved me of my inability to start a dialogue. He managed to focus his rolling, glassy, morphine-intoxicated eyes and, in a barely audible and scratchy voice, his words slowly leaked out.

"There was a great, bright, searing, yellow light. And the sound, it's something I can't describe. And then I was lying there and I realized it was a pigua (terror attack). And then I looked down and I thought, 'Oh no, my leg is gone from the knee down'. But it was just a piece of someone else's bloody flesh that had wrapped around my leg. And I thought 'Maybe I should finally leave this country.' You're lying there in absolute agony and there's no one there to help you. All these thoughts were going through my head. And I thought, 'If I leave it's a victory for the enemy.'"

For the next six months he will be recovering from a shattered knee cap, a severed vein in his leg, shrapnel wounds, severe internal contusions and a number of surgeries. In addition, he will be dealing with the psychological wounds as well. Two weeks after the bombing, he is notably stronger. He has taken several steps with a walker and he is actually able to move himself, very gingerly, within his bed in order to find a position which is a little less painful. But he is exhausted and mentally tormented. He confided, "Every day I'm fighting to keep my sanity... I'm not sleeping; the dreams keep me from sleeping."