Former staff the UN Office for Special Projects, who was severely injured in the UN Baghdad bombing in 2003
How were you affected by the Canal Hotel attack as an aid worker and as an Iraqi staff member?
The Canal Hotel attack had a profound impact on me both as an aid worker and as an Iraqi staff member. It was a devastating event that shook the humanitarian community to its core. I personally experienced immense loss and trauma that resulted from the attack. It reinforced the risks we face in our mission to provide assistance to those in need. As an Iraqi staff member, it struck close to home, affecting not only my professional life but also deeply impacting my sense of security and hope for a better future.
Twenty years later, what does the attack mean to you and your work?
The attack continues to hold great significance for me and my work. It serves as a constant reminder of the sacrifices made by humanitarian workers worldwide. The attack reinforced the importance of our mission and the need to persevere in the face of adversity. It strengthened my commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others, and it drives me to continue working towards a more compassionate and resilient society. Upon my arrival in the US in 2014, I wasted no time initiating campaigns aimed at assisting displaced Iraqis and Syrians who were enduring the devastating impact of terrorist attacks in war-torn regions. In 2020, I took the next step by establishing Jannah, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid and relief efforts. To date, we have successfully supported thousands of individuals and implemented over 165 projects in Iraq and various other countries.
What does the attack and the UN's response convey to the world today?
The attack and the UN's response convey important messages to the world today. First and foremost, it highlights the vulnerability of those who dedicate their lives to humanitarian work. It underscores the risks faced by aid workers who selflessly serve others in challenging and often dangerous environments. The attack also exemplifies the resilience and determination of the humanitarian community. It showcases the unwavering commitment to providing assistance, even in the face of grave threats. The response of the UN and its partners in the aftermath of the attack demonstrated the collective strength and solidarity of the international community.