“Jana Tarabulsi sketches some remarks recorded during a seminar by Palestinian surgeon Ghassan Abu Sitta, held in Beirut on December 8, 2023, regarding his experiences in Gaza during the recent conflict.”
Translation by Samir Skeini
“”The copyright of the illustrations is reserved for the Megaphone platform”
He is the “war doctor”, Dr Ghassan Abou Sitta, a Palestinian-British doctor and professor, multi-awarded plastic and reconstructive surgeon with a distinguished international reputation as a leading expert in craniofacial and facial deformities surgery, plastic surgery and trauma-related injuries, and specialises in pediatric craniofacial surgery and palate surgery. The author of the first Arab curriculum for conflict medicine and the author of several books: “The Narrative of the Palestinian Wound – An Analysis of Israeli Biopolitics” with Michel Nawfal (Riad El-Rayess Books Publishing House, 2020), who spoke of “a systematic Israeli policy aimed at creating a Palestinian society in Gaza, half of which is physically unable to live normally, and the other half is busy helping the first half, which turns the entire society into a one unable to live a normal life.” He also wrote the book “Reconstructing the War-Injured Patient.” He will soon publish a book entitled “Treating the War-Injured Child.”
In 2011, he assumed the associate professor position and became head of the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. In 2015, he became a founding director of the Conflict Medicine Program at the Global Health Institute at the same university. He is an associate professor at several British universities, including Imperial College and King’s College. He is a member of the board of directors of the INARA Association, a charity dedicated to providing reconstructive surgery to children injured by war in the Middle East.
With every war that erupts in Gaza, Abou Sitta leaves his quiet life in London to move to the hell of the Strip. Nothing forces him to do so except, first, his Palestinianism and connection to the land and its people, and second, his living humanity despite the occupation’s attempts to kill what remains of the Palestinian people’s beating heart. His support was not limited to Gaza, as he worked as a war surgeon in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and southern Lebanon.
What Abou Sitta experienced in the current Israeli war on the Gaza Strip was something he had not witnessed in previous wars; he had seen more than anyone could bear. On November 18, 2023, Abou Sitta was forced to leave the Gaza Strip, his hands still attached to children surrounded by death and more than sixty thousand wounded. However, even if he physically left the Strip, the “war doctor” has a tongue and a pen with which to fight the battle of those still stuck between the siege and death.