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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 08:30 GMT
My Iraq: Ali Abbas
Ali Abbas
Ali can now write and paint with his feet

Ali Abbas was just 12 when he lost both his arms in a coalition missile attack in Baghdad in March 2003.

His parents were among 16 of his relatives who were killed in the bombing.

After treatment in Kuwait, Ali was brought to Britain. He's been receiving free tuition at a school in London.

I was in another world when I was in the hospital in Iraq. It was a very bad hospital; there weren't any medical things.

With all the pain I had, I preferred to die.

It was when they took me to Kuwait that I realised I didn't have arms.

It was very upsetting when I heard that I had lost my family. It's not something you ever get over, is it?

Ali Abbas in hospital
Ali was treated in Kuwait for several months

I still remember my family and I still blame the person who bombed my house.

Because when he bombed the house there weren't any soldiers or weapons. We were farmers; we had cows and sheep.

There's no reason why that should have happened. I think they meant to do that, and that it wasn't an accident.

Normal life

Sometimes I blame the government. But the people here have been so nice to me.

Now I'm doing well; I'm having a normal life. I'm playing football; doing art; cycling.

I have a very nice school, very nice teachers; nice friends here.

In Kuwait, my doctor told me how to eat with my feet, how to brush my teeth as well.

Flowers painted by Ali Abbas

At first it was very, very hard.

But I keep practising, keep practising, to make it better.

It's like I'm using my arms; if I had arms.

When I was in the hospital in Kuwait the doctor tried to teach me how to draw with my feet.

It was very hard, I thought I couldn't do it: art with my feet?

Now I'm quite good at it; I did a self portrait and I did a portrait for my teacher.

I did a gallery about two or three months ago; I sold some pictures as well.

Artificial arms

Some of the money went to the charity, and some of the money went to me as well.

My artificial arms are quite useful, but I still prefer using my feet.

I love playing football. My favourite team is Manchester United.

And I go cycling. It's a special bike with three wheels. I did 60 miles to Oxford last year; it was very tiring. Afterwards I just went straight to bed.

I use my shoulders to steer, and there are gears I change with my feet.

My ambitions? I don't know what I want to be. Maybe I want to do something with peace, when I grow up.

I hope Iraq will be safe so I can go back and live there.





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