Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Kili adventure countdown

Its coming. My biggie for this year. In 3 days time I'll be flying off to another of my gila trips.
Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak).

"Kilimanjaro one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: a snow covered mountain on the equator, an ocean of green forest surrounded by dry savannah. Climbing Kilimanjaro is like walking from the equator to the North Pole in a week, providing dramatic changes in vegetation and animal life day by day. Kilimanjaro is also a sky island. Its high altitudes have created habitat for strange and unique life forms found only on a few other peaks on the planet, such as the delicate elephant flower and the bizarre Kilimanjaro tree"
We have planned this trip for a year and insha allah i will fulfill my responsibility again to take care of my team members. Deeno will be our guide and I am sure he has planned something really exciting for us.
My only worry is the risk of AMS. I have felt it before and it is definitely not something you want to experience. 
As they say in Swahili.. "Pole..Pole.." which means.. 'Slow..slow.."

Gaza mission KP1M, Mercy, MAPIM.. only 3..

I think the whole of Malaysia knows by now that only 3 succeeded in crossing the Rafah border to Gaza.
Its a shame that the medical team was refused entry. It is mind boggling the games that the egyptian army is playing. Im sure my friends are as dissapointed as I was when it happened to me. Insha Allah, there must be a good reason for this.
The Gaza mission is postponed.. not cancelled.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gaza Mission Chronicles: The other teams.. Praying the best for them to Gaza

It has been almost 2 weeks since i came back. The withdrawal feeling is there, so near yet so far. Of course i do feel dissapointed with our mission not fully accomplished. Its a kind of feeling in malay we say "terkilan". However, it is because of our faith and belief that we resort to redha.. a feeling of giving yourself to god as he knows bad, the planner the almighty. As much as team I-Medik wanted to enter Gaza, it was not meant to be this time around. I do appreciate the new friendships i have made. Patience is definitely the word to ponder and really dwell into deeply. 
Today, quite a number of my friends are on their way to Egypt with the ultimate attempt route through Rafah to Gaza. It is a respectful deed by my colleagues and I am really proud of them. To know that the group of friends that you grew up with, be it university or during our trainingship days, it is such a special thought to know that in a way we have a common zest and aspirations. Dato Azeez of KP1M is the team leader, bringing with him an entourage with 40 tonne metric of help and goods for the Gazans. Despite what people may think and say, they are trying their best to show how helpful we Malaysians are.
Zaqrul, Syariz, Nawar, Izzat and Jaseem are with the Kp1M team. Zaqrul (Paediatrician), Syariz (Paediatric Surgeon), Nawar ( Orthopods), Izzat (ED physician) and Dato Jaseem (senior anaesthetist and the person i locum for in DEMC haha)  I am proud of them and their enthusiasm. In fact, I do have stories with each of them; working together in multiple scenarios which had made us who we are today. It can be funny, scary yet entertaining and perhaps the stories that i can write for people to know what we felt when we had the crisis on our hands. There were a few others who initially registered but due to unforeseen circumstances, they had to withdraw. It is not easy making decisions such as this and i do truly understand.
 Pak Ngah and Dr Zol is in the Mercy Malaysia team. Very low profile i must say because there was no media frenzy as the one in KLIA tonight. A team being assembled by Pak Azam, the ever strong man of Mercy Malaysia. Pak Ngah is a neurosurgeon in HUKM and used to be my BUX batch mate and uni mate. Dr Zol is a fellow anaesthetist, well i should say a senior anaesthetist in Sg Petani who had produced a number of excellent MOs that went on to be a Super Specialist.
Seeing them rekindled my experience the other day. My du'a for the teams to be able to enter gaza and do what we all wanted to do from the start. Insha allah.

Monday, August 04, 2014

After FIFA World Cup, E-bola worries..

"The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is spreading faster than efforts to control it, World Health Organization (WHO) head Margaret Chan has said.
She told a summit of regional leaders that failure to contain Ebola could be "catastrophic" in terms of lives lost.But she said the virus, which has claimed 728 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February, could be stopped if well managed.
Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected."

Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa is very worrying. On top of all the misery bad news we have been hearing, now this devastating potential biological warfare tool is loose and causing Sierra Leone and Liberia to declare emergency. It is a serious threat to the world and the vision of homo sapiens wipe out becomes possible. If you have watched Planet of the Apes recently, you can imagine how the flight of a particular virus can wipeout the human population in an exponential manner. 
What worries me most is the death of Dr Sheik Umar Khan, the leading treating physician and Scientist who has been dealing with this deadly virus since its introduction to West Africa few years ago. I am sure he is an expert and would apply his precautions in handling these cases. He has handled thousands of these cases and now he got infected and died of it. Would not it be suspicious of how he may have contracted the disease? Numerous health care workers caught it within the past week and the famous 2 Americans who were brought back to be treated in their facility at home. 
There are a lot of theories floating around (Mind you..this year our imaginative mind has been stimulated many times!)  Having the virus to be potentially airborne is very worrying and a nightmare to all in this world. Even if it is true, do you reckon WHO would announce it now? hmmmm... Lets see how the epidemic progresses because this can be a real super issue to deal with.

Gaza Mission Chronicles: From a volunteer to another

I thought the excerpt is well written and summarised by my Gaza mission team mate Dr Zairul. I have shared this in facebook and I am sharing it here again for my own reference.
"Saya banyak juga menerima pertanyaan orang ramai bagaimana untuk menjadi seorang sukarelawan di bumi Palestin. Disini saya ingin memberi beberapa pendapat saya:

1. Mula-mula niat yang benar-benar tulus untuk menolong saudara seagama kita. Ini nampak mudah - tetapi percayalah, kerap kali saya sendiri terpaksa menyelami dan memperbetulkan niat agar berlandaskan jalan Allah. Hadis yang pertama dibincangkan dalam 40 hadis Rasullullah SAW karangan Imam Nawawi adalah berkenaan niat. Jangan gunakan penyertaan anda untuk mendapatkan bilangan like FB yang semaksimum mungkin.

2. Daftarlah diri dengan mana-mana NGO bertauliah. Anda tak semestinya perlu menjadi seorang doktor seperti saya untuk menjadi sukarelawan. Antara aktiviti Aman Palestin (AP) adalah didalam bidang perubatan. Disitulah keperluan kedoktoran diperlukan. Namun, terdapat banyak lagi aktiviti yang sedang dirancang oleh AP yang memerlukan kepakaran lain. Jadi, daftarlah diri dengan apa jua kepakaran yang ada.

3. Kita berkhidmat dibumi Palestin bukan untuk kepentingan diri sendiri. Ada yang menyatakan bahawa mereka nak ke bumi Palestin untuk menentang Zionis dan syaheed disana. Subhanallah... Gaza sudah mempunyai lebih dari cukup pejuang yang bertugas melawan musuh dan mempertahankan bumi Palestin. Tujuan kita adalah untuk membantu saudara seIslam kita. Andaikata kita dengan saja menempah maut, maka kita bukannya menjadi aset, malah sudah menjadi liabiliti. Sekiranya dalam membantu itu kita terkorban atau cedera, maka itulah perancangan Allah.

4. Andaikata tidak terpilih menjadi sukarelawan ke sana, kita masih lagi boleh membantu saudara kita dari sini dengan pelbagai cara. Kita boleh boikot barangan Israel, menjana kesedaran melalui penulisan, karikatur dan sebagainya, mengutip derma, melobi dipihak atasan dan Kerajaan... Memang banyak yang boleh dilakukan. Percayalah, setiap saat kita gunakan untuk tujuan ini akan dibalas berlipat ganda di akhirat kelak dan akan menjadi saksi untuk kita.

5. Kita perlu belajar dan faham mengenai konflik ini. Bila maklumat kita tepat, barulah kita dengan jayanya mematahkan pelbagai tipu daya dan sandiwara Yahudi. Cahaya akan sentiasa menerangi kegelapan. Ilmu akan sentiasa mematahkan penipuan. Jadilah jurucakap Palestin yang cekap - sedarkan masyarakat Malaysia dan dunia. Paling penting, anda perlu faham perbezaan antara Yahudi, Zionis, dan Israel.

6. Anda sudahpun menjadi sukarelawan Palestin setiap kali anda berdoa dan bermunajat untuk saudara kita. Jangan terlalu sibuk membenci dan mengutuk Yahudi sehingga tak sempat berdoa untuk saudara kita. Rasullullah SAW, betapa Baginda dikerjakan oleh kaum musyrikin, tidak pernah membenci mereka.

Tahniah bagi yang berminat. Saya kerapkali katakan: isu Palestin bukan isu penduduk Palestin semata-mata. Janganlah kita paling muka dari masalah saudara kita; nanti di akhirat kelak, kita pula dipaling oleh Allah dan Rasulnya.

Selamat berjuang,
Allah bless Gaza
Dr. Zairul Nizam"

Gaza Mission Chronicles 7: Mission postponed not cancelled

It was with a heavy heart when the team decided to postpone our attempts to enter Gaza. It is almost impossible and Aman Palestin had used all their resources to get us in. Despite having 18 missions into Gaza previously, this thime around the ball has changed courts and I guess it is unrealistic to keep on hoping. The situation between Israel and Hamas is not improving, the bombardment has if not intensified and the killing is nearing 2000. I am sure it would surpass that number within this week. The inhumane attack on civilians is almost unheard off in this centruy but nobody can stop Israel to continue their genocide agenda. 
I was really optimistic on our last attempt, that we would be celebrating Aidilfitri in Gaza. It was not meant to be. It is ironic that the person who signed our letter to enter Gaza from Egypt was the authority reinforming us we cannot enter Gaza. It is frustrating, it is dissappointing.How can one not be when we were so hyped up to be involved in a crisis where the world is just watching cruelty happening again and again.
Ustaz Anas and Kamarul decided to stay for another few days, looking for thst window that they be able to enter Gaza. The rest decided to leave for home, but with a strong resolution that we would be coming back to fulfill our promise to Gazans. It was not an easy decision but i guess sometimes we have to be practical. Besides that, the 14 day on arrival visa is due and to avoid overstay, we need to get out ofthe country anyway.
We left Cairo last Thursday 31 July 2014 with a heavy heart. I was sad but at the same time more determined. The Palestine conflict is not an easy one. What is happening at the moment is a backlash of an unresovled conflict which was denied its solution for decades.. since 1948. And when the bubble burst, the destruction that the whole world is seeing now is not a surprise. 
Insha Allah, Allah has promised victory to us all. we just need to keep our faith and be patient.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Raya away from home, this time Cairo

Being in Cairo on the 1st of Syawal seemed like any other day. You do see people dressing up but the celebrations are sombre. I guess it is our own Malay culture that we celebrate the way we do. You dont really see they hype in the media unlike ours. It is summer therefore Fajr is at 330am! Thus if you can calculate the maths, Solat Eidulfitri is at 5am!! :)
The Malaysian population in Egypt is currently more than 10,000! Imagine, before the 2011 revolution; it was double that figure! I never knew there were many of us here either living or studying in this place. No offence but those who's been here must have been really thankful and would think Malaysia in another way. A state which is military governed will never be thrived unlike democratic countries. I've been to Yangon before and i can see the similar style of governance and importance which is emphasized by the ruling government. 
After eid prayers we were off to Ustaz Qamarul's place - the local Aman Palestin coordinator. He organized an open house and streams of students were there to celebrate the first day of eid. Of course I did not bring my baju melayu and my attire for the day was the best i had in my luggage.. Haha

At noon, I decided to follow Farith - the Tv9 media rep on our team to Hayyu Asyir Square, The Malaysian Embassy in Cairo organized the first ever open air gathering of all Malaysian students. It was the square in between the hostels which is sponsored by a number of state in Malaysia. I was quite astonished by this fact upon arrival. The streams of our Malaysian students celebrating Eidulfitri at this magnitude. The new Ambassador, Dato Ku Jaafar thought of this idea in doing something different for the current student population. I thought it was down of earth of him to mingle with the Malaysian population in this way. I am sure he will be popular amongst the Malaysians in Egypt this time around with his approach.
Of course, my job today was a bit different from my normal daily routine. I did help a bit Farith with his story recording and I guess the perception amongst those who were there might have been myself as a journalist hahaha I thought it was fun, to see the scene from another perspecitve.

It was an interesting experience, going out to meet up with the Malaysian population in Cairo. It reminds me of my student days and I am sure it is an overwhelming experience for the students' future undertakings.

Gaza Mission chronicles 6: 4th attempt

It looked promising. The humanitarian ceasefire during the weekend was the window we were looking for. Otherwise the plan was to return to Malaysia on Syawal eve. Tickets were booked and we were ready to go back. However, Ust Anas enquired whether we would like to stay and try because it seemed possible to cross Rafah at that time.Without hesitation, I agreed because as conditions are not getting better why say no now. Hence, the group has been divided into two. Hasbe, Finaz and Bob would be taking the flight out to Bangkok on Saturday 26th of July. The team was optimistic. 
We were off early from rumah tamu Perlis on Sunday morning. The day looked peaceful and we were praying hard that our trip would be fruitful this time around.
It looked like it was a breeze, no petty stop over on the earlier stops ie in Ismaili and while crossing the SUez canal via the ferry. I was optimistic Insha Allah. The thought of the gazans were stronger in my mind. Again we were stopped at the Arisy gate and the palpitations begin.
The guards this time looked friendlier but i was warned not to be deceived. Gone were the heavy guarded military personnels unlike our previous try. Our letter of approval from the Egypt Internal Affairs ministry was legit and as per protocol the call was made to the office.
Our names were verified one by one.. I was optimistic. Until the end of the phone conversation..

" I will call to confirm in 5 minutes"
And we waited..... We waited for an hour before the post guard called again.

"Another 5 minutes..."
And we waited...  the next hour.. " Another 5 minutes..."
And the pattern continued. We arrived at 9am and it became noon. I guess the wait maybe nothing compared to what our prophets had to endure in their da'wah and we waited. The wait of no guarantee.
Somehow despite the dry conditions of the desert, there was a breeze that made the wait bearable. I cannot imagine if it was still wind with the sun without clouds shining mightily above us.

And on the 5th hour..
" No... they can't cross Al Arisy to Rafah.."

Oh.. the most dreadful answer you would like to hear on the day where our optimism was its highest. I cannot describe my feeling at that moment. Disappointment? Despair? Helplessness? 
And so forth we made our return to Cairo. Again.. another attempt failed not by the army but by the authority who initially gave us the green light to go. Funny? Well not funny and its just the complexity of how things work here in Egypt.

1435 Eidulfitri

I reckon Eidulfitri this year must be the saddest I've ever felt or perhaps the world may have ever felt. Not because I am not back home but because of what is happening in Gaza. Being away from family in Eid is nothing compared to the terror the Gazans are facing everyday for the past 22 days. Merciless bombing and killings of the children is too obvious for the world to ignore. World sanctioned genocide is happening as we speak and the world just watch helplessly. Total helplessness and the reality state of the world at the moment. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Qunut Nazilah

Dedicated to the oppressed and my muslim brothers and sisters all over the world:

اللّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإسْلامَ وَالمُسْلِمِيْنَ وَأَذِّلَّ الشِّرْكَ وَالمُشْرِكِيْنَ, اللّهُمَّ انْصُرْ إِخْوَانَنَا المُسْلِمِيْنَ وَ المُجَاهِدِيْنَ وَ المُسْتَضْعَفِين , فِى فَلَسْطِين وَ فِي كُلِّ زَمَانٍ وَمَكَانٍ

Ya Allah! Muliakan Islam dan orang islam. Ya Allah! Hinakan Syirik dan musyrikin. Ya Allah! Tolonglah saudara-saudara kami yang muslim dan mujahidin dan golongan-golongan lemah, di Palestin dan semua tempat dan di semua masa.

اللّهُمَّ دَمِّرْ أَعْدَائَكَ أَعْدَاءَ الدِّينْ ِ, اللّهُمَّ أهْلِكِ الكَفَرَةَ و الشِّرْكَ و المُنَافِقِيْنَ
اللّهُمَّ إِنَّا نَجْعَلُكَ فِي نُحُوْرِأَعْدَائِنَا وَنَعُوْذُبِكَ مِنْ شُرُوْرِهِمْ, اللّهُمَّ بَدِّدْ شَمْلَهُمْ وَفَرِّقْ جَمْعَهُمْ وَشَتِّتْ كَلِمَتَهُمْ وَزَلْزِلْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ وَقِلَّ عَدَدَهُمْ وَسِلاحَهُمْ وَسَلِّطْ عَلَيْهِمْ كَلْبًا مِنْ كِلاِبكَ

Ya Allah! Binasakan musuh kamu, Musuh agama (Islam). Ya Allah! Hancurkan kekufuran, Syirik dan Munafiq, Ya Allah! Sesungguhnya kami jadikan pada leher-leher musuh kami (kami serah kepada Mu) dan kami berlindung dengan-Mu dari kejahatan-kejahatan mereka. Ya Allah! Cerai beraikan perhimpunan mereka, pisahkan kesatuan mereka, selerakkan kalimah-kalimah mereka, gegarkan ketetapan mereka, Kurangkan bilangan dan senjata mereka, Kalahkan mereka dengan anjing dari anjing-anjing kamu.

يَاقَهَّارُ يَاجَبَّارُ يَامُنْتَقِمُ يا الله , يا الله , يا الله , يا رب العالمين

Wahai Tuhan yang maha gagah, Wahai Tuhan yang maha keras, Wahai Tuhan yang maha membalas, Wahai Allah!!

اللّهُمَّ يَا مُنْزِلَ الكِتَابِ وَ يَا مُجْرِيَ السَّحَابِ وَ يَاهَازِمَ الأحْزَابِ اِهْزِمْهُمْ وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ

اِهْزِمِ الكُفَّار , اِهْزِمِ اليهود, اِهْزِمْ أَمَرِيْكَا وَمَنْ وَلاَّ هُمْ , وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ

Wahai Allah, Tuhan yang menurunkan kitab (al-Quran), Tuhan yang menggerakkan langit, Tuhan yang mengalahkan tentera ahzab, kalahkan kuffar, kalahkan mereka dan berilah kemenangan kepada kami terhadap mereka. Kalahkanlah yahudi, kalahkan Amerika dan sekutu-sekutu mereka, dan tolonglah kami atas mereka.

أَنْتَ قَوِىٌّ و نَحْنُ ضُعَفَاء , نَشْكُوا ضُعْفَ قُوَّتِنَا , اللّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبُّنَا وَ َنْحنُ عِبَادُكَ

Ya Allah, Engkau berkuasa, kami lemah, kami mengadu kelemahan kami. Ya Allah! Engkau Tuhan kami dan kami adalah hamba-hamba kamu.

اللّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنَا شَهَادَ ةً فِىْ سَبِيْلِكَ , رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

Ya Allah! Rezekikan kepada kami Syahid di jalan kamu. Ya Allah! Berikan kepada kami kehidupan di dunia ini baik dan di akhirat juga baik, dan selamatkan kami dari Azab neraka.

Gaza mission chronicles: Let the world know

Mutee And Renee's newborn 25 July 2014

Alhamdulillah, (wonders of internet connection and whatsapp) the birth of my niece, 3.7kg girl in Pantai Medical Centre. The more ummah that we have produced insya Allah, the generation that will shake the world! Congratulations to my dear brother Mutee for what Allah has given him and to Rene, the everlasting example of love which i appreciate so much.
May this newborn brings another dimension of prosperity in the small nuclear family.

Gaza mission chronicles 5: Unstoppable just cause

We were waiting for that window, the window when there  was the possibility of aids that can be brought into Gaza from the outside world. This current conflict was a different situation, the prolonged bombings and retaliation that has murdered civilians in a very alarming number.Such injustice from where we are based, the neighboring country who would not allow it borders to be opened for foreigners to come in.
When Hamas's leader Khaled Meeshal came on air last Wednesday night, it was obvious what we wanted was nowhere at sight. We maybe selfish awaiting for him to accept a ceasefire for the two step solution which all logical negotiators would suggest. However upon hearing what the charismatic leader iterated in his 45 minutes speech, it was clear this time the Palestinian will go all out to claim what is their true rights. About time and despite what the predicted outcome will be, what is due is due. All this crap about Israel having the right to defend themselves is a jargon to sway the real issues away.. Occupier oppressing the real owners.
I guess what is happening now is the result of the unresolved issues in the middle peace process which was initiated in 1994 or even better since the cock up made by the British in 1948. Things being put aside and hoping that everybody would choose to forget about it is definitely not the best solution. The conflict is complicated and what it has shown me for this past few days has been clear. A bully will always bully regardless in a direct or indirect way. The Islamic faction has totally no political power to decide or even the power to negotiate. We can only see how stupid the whole world just sit down and aggreing to the killing justifications. Things which are ethically wrong may not be wrong when you have the deciding power. It is just so sad to see how we are totally bullied and controlled by the power in being.. the TRUE AXIS OF EVIL..
Our team came in with a clear objective but unfortunately we have to wait for it to be achieved. We have learnt a number of things as what we have planned may not be what we can achieve. The idea of having a rethink of what has happened had certainly made me reflect on the pressing issue of Gazans and myself. How Allah has given me his blessings back home and i do dare to ask for more. I am sure my contribution towards ummah should be one of my main objectives if it has not been already. I submit myself to Allah for all his plans that he has for all of us. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gaza Mission Chronicles 4: the brink of eternal confrontation

I never thought I will be following the current Hamas-Gaza-Israel genocide crisis this close and with a role to play. I am closely monitoring news from various sources be it general or social media. John Kerry arrived in Cairo earlier and now we are waiting for his joint statement with UN Sec Gen. The main reason for this perhaps has to do a lot with our possibility of coming to Gaza for medical aid if a truce or a cooling period is pronounced. This will be the window that we have been waiting for.
The bombastic killings has certainly raised a lot of eyebrows around the world. We all know how the super powers are with the Israelis but the uncontrolled beserk killing which is obvious became too obvious to a lot of people who has the right conscious mind. How dare of irrespectable Netanyahu to declare that the civilians are not their target when more than 90% out of the current 560 (current count) are civilians with mostly  women and children! Simply absurd and crap bull! We were sad but at the same time praying shaheed for the family members of Aman Palestin's contact Omar Seyem on the martyr of 9 family members.
The situation is serious and what makes it more is the dual crisis of Russians against the rest of the world. Its unfortunate for Malaysia MH 17 to be the victim of an international feud which i would reckon can lead to a world war which is long due.
 It is a bitter pill to swallow that behind the so called democracy and call for justice, none of these values which the western superpowers proclaim bearing are practiced. Pure hypocracy crap at its best if the world has not realize. Again.. it is sad that despite the advances of knowledge and wisdom we all claim we have, its back to basics human nature survival of the fittest is prevailing. Making all of us wonder, is humankind in self denial as how i can quote Caesar (Dawn of the planet of the apes) telling his son,:
" I thought we (apes) were different.. but in the end, ape and man are the same after all (killing each other)".
*being philosophical

Monday, July 21, 2014

Gaza Mission Chronicles: the Gaza Strip stripped

The current morbidity and mortality in Gaza after 14 days of genocide:
510 Syaheeds  3150 injuries

Gaza Mission Chronicles 3: New friends new companions

It has been 4 days since we left Malaysia, we have tried to cross to Gaza thrice and now back in Cairo. Despite not being able to achieve our second objective which is to cross the border, i certainly have learnt a lot of things. That is why i have always enjoyed travelling. Either for leisure or fulfilling a specific objective,  i will always pick up something new. Meeting new people, new group is always a pleasure. People with various personalities, traits and of course their gifts. Everybody will always have a special talent which makes them stand out from another individual.We have yet to work professionally as a team but the indications on this past four days of crisis has been good.
Dr Hasbe, the only lady in our team  is my senior (both age and Masters Anaesthesia).I have always enjoyed a good working relationship with her. She is definitely a brave lady for volunteering in this project. Knowing her personality, i am sure she is an asset to our team! She is very straight forward no holds barred and never hesitant to voice out her opinion!haha I have always enjoyed her scoldings.
Our team leader, Dr Mohd Nor Sundari an orthopaedic surgeon in Kuantan Medical Centre. A senior surgeon i haven ever met him in my lifetime until on the day of departure. We did not even talk on the phone because i only communicated with him via the whatsapp! (wonders of technology) 
Dr Zairul Nizam is a spine surgeon whom i have met via locum before. I am sure he would not have recognize and remember as young anaesthetists doing locums are invisible haha However, he is the husband to my Intensivist in HKL when i was an MO, Dr Airini. Both Dr Zairul and Mohd Nor has been in Gaza before so it is much desired that they lead this group. Besides that, both are active member of I-Medik, a muslim doctors NGO which was recently formed. Having to lead this mission is certainly a big publicity to the NGO.
Last but not least would be Dr Kamarul Haq, my room mate. He is an orthopaedic surgeon whose sub specialisation would be trauma.It is not difficult to recognize him because he looks and has Van Diesel's persona haha Even few people thought he was a member of the military escorting us! Maybe i don't know hmmm...
Insha Allah, we have come with a mission. The suffering of our brothers and sisters in Gaza is unbearable. Imagine us.. being nearer to them than to you guys. The again, with the barakah of the last 10 days of ramadhan insha Allah. The invasion inhumane casualties are increasing by every minute. Israelis are not reducing the magnitude of their attack. I pray to Allah to make things easy for us.

Gaza Mission Chronicles 2: virtue of patience

Its a very gloomy day today. We have yet to receive any news from Dr Essam our team leader regarding our movement. The attacks in Gaza is at its worst for the past two days.Masya Allah.. the visuals we saw on tv is horrendous.Not just the gruesome bodies but the bombings which is visualised from a far every minute. A total attack from the Israeli forces.
 Together with my team member Dr Haq, we are restless at the moment. The mind runs around in looking for alternatives of how we can cross the border. However, somehow the gesture of Dr Essam looking at our expression during the past two days comes into mind.
"Patience my brothers.. we need to have a lot of patience with du'a insha Allah" and patting our shoulders.

Definitely a lone calm figure everytime the nervousness arrived amongst his delegate members. Dr Essam introduced himself as a nephrologist with a Jordanian background. Everytime before we start our trip to the checkpoint border, he will recite du'a with conviction and leads our prayers. Certainly a figure well respected amongst the group members. Even a "lone ranger" (perhaps i will introduce him in another entry) who i made friends with told me that if there was anybody who could bring doctors into the Gaza trip at this moment, it will be Dr Essam. Who is this Dr Essam? Obviously from the perspective of our group, we were not briefed on the background of the group we were together with.
Dr Essam Mustafa or also known as Dr Essam Yusof is the managing trustee of Interpal, Interpal is a British charity which was founded in 1994 and its official name is Palestinians Relief and Development Fund.Of course it has been controversial because of allegations of its link in funding terrorism. Looking at the internet resources over all these years, i have yet to find any legal sanction against this charity as obviously they could not prove their allegations. Dr Essam seemed to have a very strong connection with the HAMAS leaders, proven in various pictures and activities organized together with the ruling government of the Gaza strip.

Dr Essam is the key figure in the "Miles of Smiles" convoy, a programme where he would lead a group of medical consultants from Europe and around the world to visit Palestine ad in particular the Gaza strip. Looking at the internet resources in his name reference, I am certainly impressed with his commitment towards the charity and medical aid for palestinians in the gaza strip. 
It is certainly a priviledge to be with his group and insha Allah i do hope that we will be successful in our current mission to cross the border. 

"Patience brother..patience.."
                                          with I-Medik team leader, Dr Mohd Nor Sundari

Gaza Mission Chronicles 1 : Access Denied

We have just returned to Cairo from the Al Arisy border which is just another stop before Rafah. We were ednied not one,twice but thrice in two days! Subhanallah.. I cannot believe its the Egyptian side giving us problems rather than the actual bombings in Gaza.It is the 13th day of war.. the longest in the current millenium. An unresolved conflict getting out of hands all of a sudden.
I could not update earlier because of internet inavailability. I was only thinking of getting a local sim card upon arriving in Gaza itself but it was not our rezq yet. Besides that, i guess it would be inappropriate to tell exactly where and what our plans are.. as in a way intel is at its priority at the moment. The situation in Gaza was gone from bad to worst. Unfortunately till date, no medical teams are allowed to enter GAZA for humanitarian purposes. Masya Allah!
Our mission started as planned on the Saturday morning. We then moved from our base to where the EU delegates were; a group of Clinical Consultants from US, UK and Germany. All of them with Arabic roots. We were led by Dr Esam, a well known Gaza activist and had a good track record of getting medical personnels into Gaza in the past 2 short wars. (2009 and 2012).
On a normal day, it would take us about 2-3 hours to Rafah. With the current checkpoints, it can take up to 7 hours! Because of Aman Palestin and our contacts with the current government, we have managed to gather all documentations required to cross the border. Officially there was no way we can be denied. However, from past experience, the letters can never be a guarantee. We were soon to find out about it. We were very strict about picture taking as a sight of us doing so can cause us to be turned back that very moment. And being part of the mission, i had to refrain myself from taking pics as how i would like to.
The journey made me felt a bit jittery. Dr Esam explained to us about the background and to make du'a all the way praying for our success. It was an emotional journey and the palpitations everytime we were on a checkpoint. Alhamdulillah, the first few checkpoints were smooth sailing. When we arrived at the Suez canal, (we were not on the movable bridge but another crossing using ferry) it can be a turning point. the Egyptian army can decide not to allow us through. We had to wait for about half an hour and we were allowed to cross! Everybody was optimistic about the pass.
 When we arrived at the Al Arisy gate, we saw a lot of busses lining up and loads of people flocking the small terminal road towards Sinai. A demonstration was going on! And giving this as an excuse we were denied entry for the first time. We took it in a positive way as we went to a nearby town for iftar and the night. It was a nervous night when waiting for dawn. At this point, everybody was optimistic with our chances and we were to du'a for success. The GAZA bombing got worse and the casulaties were piling up. Even As Shifa doctors made a press release requesting for our assistance.
We were up early and by 715am we were off to the point where we were stopped yesterday. Again.. within a whisker, the army personnel denied our entry to the dissatisfaction of the team in the bus! We then returned to the village we spent our night and discussed what were the options available. The Egyptian army were giving security excuses for not allowing us to enter. The longer we wait, the more civilians are being massacred! A lively discussion exploded and you would expect nonetheless from the Arab group. 
We made a last try when we heard a truce was being called by the Red Cross to collect dead bodies but unfortunately it was not honoured. Again we were denied and Dr Esam as the group leader made the decision for the whole team to return to Cairo. In a way it was frustrating but this is Ramadhan especialy the last 10 nights of ramadhan. I am sure Allah has his plans on not allowing to enter Gaza at this very moment.
The Gaza mission is getting more dangerous as no guarantee of any security level. Until date, I have not received any news for any plans for entering Gaza tomorrow. We can only hope and pray. It is unfair to let innocent people suffer the consequences of a conflict. It is so sad to see the world not reacting to this as urgently as it should.

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