The fourth and second floors of the Science and Technology Hospital in Sana’a is full of the injured from the sniper attack at Change Square last Friday, Mar. 18th. Many of those shot on Friday were taken to the hospital. Forty-eight of the 53 killed died at this hospital. Three of the remaining 29 injured still at the hospital are in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU). One protester died of his wounds on Tuesday, and among those in the ICU is a 12 year-old child facing death with a bullet lodged in his head.
Photos of the Friday March 18 martyrs are everywhere at Sana’a University, where the anti-government protest continues. Some have set their profile pictures on social networking sites to those who were gunned down. The gruesome result of Friday’s massacre is 53 dead by bullets, 200 with bullet wounds, and over 600 injured from tear gas.
The Yemen Times learnt that last Tuesday, a delegation from the European Union, the ambassadors of the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands visited the injured and discussed ways of helping them.
Many citizens from all areas have visited the injured to show their support. The hospital witnessed a flood of citizens offering to donate blood for the injured. “We have enough blood, even reserve blood. We were amazed. Once we announced our need the whole city came to donate,” said one hospital worker.
Many of the bullet wounds were in the head or chest, shot by snipers from above.
In some hospital rooms you find crowds attending those still suffering the cramping effects of exposure to poisonous gas. In another room a child endures a pain-ridden sleep while his mother is crying and cursing the forces that brought them here.
Young boy blinded by sniper
Salem Al-Harazi, an 11 year-old victim of a sniper at Friday’s massacre, has been transferred from the ICU to a normal room. Salem has lost both his eyes. The bullet entered his left eye, and came out his right eye, destroying both and the nasal septum in-between. Salem was breathing through his nose, hardly sleeping and speaking of his fears when the Yemen Times visited him. His seven year-old brother sadly sat beside Salem: “He was shot by sniper who is bad. I will always help him to get whatever he wants.”
His doctor Nasr Ateiah said that Salem has no hope of being able to see again. “His condition is stable now, but unfortunately we can’t do anything more to help. Even if they took him abroad, they can’t put in artificial eyes to allow him to see,” said Dr. Ateiah.
Salem, who is in the fifth grade, told his mother that school had given students the day off on Thursday morning. He left the house to go to the protest without telling his mother who was cooking lunch at the time. At nine o’clock she went to search for him with her little boy. “I was worried and in a terrible condition. I thought that he might be at one of the protest areas, so I went to look for him at the pro-government protest,” said Salem’s 35 year-old mother with tears under her veil.
When she didn’t find Salem, she returned home and told his father when he came back that evening. His father spent the whole night looking for Salem at the anti-government protest by Sana’a University, but he couldn’t find him among the crowds. “We spent the whole night crying, and praying for God to find him,” said his mother.
On Friday morning the mother, father and the younger brother all went to look for Salem again at the Sana’a University protest. His name was announced from the protest stage, but he was sleeping in one of the tents and missed the announcement. That night they saw the news on the state run Yemen TV.
“His father was going crazy, hitting the wall and shouting that his son was among the killed,” said Salem’s mother. She said that they didn’t know anything about Salem’s fate until Saturday morning.
Salem, who woke up to complain that his hand hurt, told the Yemen Times that he spent Thursday without food, but he found an empty tent to sleep in. He woke up to the call to prayer. “When I heard the shooting, I ran with some people towards the shooting. I helped the men in destroying the wall,” said Salem in pain. Salem’s mother said the Salem went to protest to call for the regime to fall. “The security didn’t touch us. I was shot by the snipers that I saw on the roofs of the buildings, covering their faces,” said Salem. It was one of the last things he would ever see.
“I would never allow my friend Mohammad to go to the protest, because he will be hurt,” said Salem. He is sobbing, but the tears cannot find their way out of his shattered face.
“What did he do to deserve this? He is only a child. I cannot imagine my life after this. He was the family’s hope. His father is tired and can’t feed us any more. We put our hopes on Salem, but how will he live this way? Last week at this time my son was alright. God will take our revenge on them,” said his mother crying.