"As I watched in horror, I was certain that I would lose my entire family."
excerpted from God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation by Joseph Sebarenzi and Laura Mullane
For the last several weeks I've had the great pleasure of working with Omar Reda, M.D. He is a man of remarkable talents, tremendous achievements, and great humility. His biography reads: "Dr. Reda is a Libyan American psychiatrist who graduated from Benghazi Medical School in 1996, worked as an ER physician before leaving Libya for fear of persecution. He then obtained a Masters certificate in global mental health from Harvard University in 2007, and finished a residency in psychiatry from the University of Tennessee in 2009.
Dr. Reda is currently an assistant professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University, the founder and director of Libya Al-Shefa project for psycho-social healing, recovery, rehabilitation and reconciliation. Dr. Reda had served as the psychosocial advisor for a number of international NGOs and as the country deputy mental health lead during the war.
He is an expert and a sought-after public speaker on issues of psychological trauma, Muslim mental health, immigrants’ mental health, the Libyan revolution and the Arab spring."
I'm editing his new book titled "A Journey of Hope: Searching for Hope in the Middle of a War Zone." He's an impressive man in that his word poetry is focused on bring healing into the world. What he has seen and heard are difficult to comprehend. In this book, in tender but strong language he tells the story, for example, of a woman who was forced to act as a slave to Gaddafi's wife. During a fit of temper, Gaddafi's wife ordered soldiers to dump the woman into her bathtub and pour boiling water on her.
He heard this story directly from the woman's own lips. The Gaddafi's did not take the woman to the hospital. She nearly died from the infections. Before she was properly treated, she was taken back to the house and locked away.
Dr. Reda saw so much of this type of tragedies that he should have been numb to the horror. But in working with what he has written, it became clear that he always was able to feel the pain of these victims. He trained teams of medical personal to focus not only on their patient's physical injuries but their emotional as well.
The stories he tells would be enough to make me sick with sorrow were it not for the fact that Dr. Reda was able to find hope for healing the cultural divides that not only keep people apart, but in refusing to bow to megalomaniacs. He reveals the devastating effects of the Libyan uprising, its people and his very own family for us to see and learn from.
The manuscript re-writes should be done by April, and I promise you it will be a fine book- a work of real world poetry from a humble man with a healing heart.