Dr. Dahlia Wasfi: Inspiration, Activism and Solidarity
It was March in the Gaza Strip and the heat was practically unbearable as a young woman who had taken a year off from college studies to participate in demonstrations that were intended to stop the destruction of Palestinian homes in the Gaza strip, stood unyielding in the path of an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) bulldozer. Rachel Corrie a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) had been in the area for roughly 2 months when an IDF bulldozer threatened the home of a Palestinian pharmacologist and his family. Rachel placed herself directly in the path of the machine in an attempt to stop the destruction and protect the home of a family she barely knew. According to witnesses the driver of the bulldozer could not help but have seen Rachel as she was waving her hands in the air. Sadly the IDF bulldozer ended up running over Rachel Corrie and in the process caused her injuries which lead to her death.
The sacrifice that Rachel had made was something that many people the world over could identify with. Her seemingly inexhaustible depth of humanity has and continues to inspire many others to stand up and fight for those who may not be able to fight for themselves.
One such person who took Rachel’s sacrifice and turned it into “Rachel’s gift” was a young woman that had been through the blatant racism of a post “91” Iraq invasion by the United States. This is where the fervor of war was evident all around her. From the television to the lips of every ultra fake patriotic imposter of the day, all that anyone would talk about is the need to crush Iraq. Dahlia must have been quite torn by this because her father was an Iraqi citizen and an American citizen as well. She had family that still lived in Iraq as the bombs and mortar fire rained down on the cities and towns of that country during operation “Desert Storm.” In fact on her website she states “I condemned the hypocrisy of militancy on a campus that purported to reflect Quaker traditions. But the hypocrisy I truly despised was within me, for I was continuing my life, business as usual, while bombs rained down on my family.”
After graduating from University of Pennsylvania Medical School Dahlia went to serve her residency at the University of Maryland then switching back to Pennsylvania again. She drudged her way through three years of surgical residency then switched to anesthesiology at Georgetown University Hospital in an attempt to break up the monotony of medical residency, and to try an rectify the inner feeling of being out of step with her own core beliefs and principles.
It all finally came to a head when September 11th happened. While working with blatant racism that was openly displayed among physicians that made derogatory statements about anyone of Arab heritage, and the growing inner turmoil that was taking place in her life, Dahlia made the decision to travel to Iraq and visit her family that she barely knew. Upon arriving and finding that American “liberation” meant a total and utter destruction of infrastructure, and the decimation of any semblance of a dignified life, Dahlia Wasfi did something that would not only change her life but change the lives of many others as well,… she spoke.
From the first time she spoke her now famous speech, which has no formal title that I am aware of so I will call it “Life in Iraq.” This is the speech that Dr. Dahlia Wasfi spoke in front of the Democratic Congressional Caucus, the Socialism 2007 conference and at many presentations and talks since then. This is the speech in which Dr. Dahlia Wasfi pours her heart and soul into the room and shows you what humanity is capable of in terms of cruelty and in terms of unending selflessness at the same time. Dahlia is at once a fierce orator, as well as a tender soul. She has inspired many people that could not or would not take some measure of action to help those less fortunate than themselves, had it not been for her words.
Aside from her speech Dr. Dahlia Wasfi has done her homework. She brilliantly researched and studied the foreign policy that was instituted by George Bush Jr. and seamlessly continued under the Obama administration. She was one of the first prominent speakers to openly make the connection between corporations such as Haliburton and their subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) to exclusive and lucrative reconstruction contracts with the United States, in Iraq. She also spoke eloquently about the politics of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. This of course did not make very popular with certain factions within the U.S. government, but I believe that was one of her measures of accuracy. The angrier they got the more she knew she was on the right track. There is one important note to be reminded of, not at any time has there been a person come out in public and say that in all her lectures and speeches that she has been wrong. Not one fact that she has reiterated has been intelligently disputed. Not one. This is due to her tireless study of the subject matter of course, but more of it goes to her character.
It is without provocation or a semblance of overstatement that I say that this woman is one of the greatest people alive today. She is a beautiful soul in her own right, but the fact that she inspires so many is her greatest gift. Long after she has gone to her place of peace and dreams, she will be leading the charge for human rights and the recognition of the individual’s right to stand on the field of mankind and claim in that thunderous voice which has been given rise by this incredible selfless energy radiated by Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, "I am a human being and I have the right to live in peace, I have the inherent right to be recognized as an equal soul, and I have the power and authority to decide how i wish to live my life."
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi is the new face of activism in the world today, educated, well spoken, driven and tirelessly selfless. If there were more people with this beautiful young woman’s drive to improve and educate humanity the world would be a much better place. If you would like to know more about this incredible woman she will be releasing a book very soon in which her story of childhood and activism will be told in much broader detail, you can visit her website at www.liberatethis.com or you can look on YouTube for the many videos of her speeches and lectures. I dare you to watch and not shed a tear as she presents the world in a light that few have the guts or the eloquence to.