Project: No More Victims History

[Note: Contrary to most Blog entries, the most recent posts here are at the bottom so it is easy to start at the beginning of the project at the top, as is usual in the non-Blog world. The linking urls take you to the original post where you can read the entire post. What is included here is a short summary for each date.]

Early in 2008 several people associated with Ruth Group felt something had to be done to alleviate the suffering caused by the US invasion and subsequent war in Iraq — even if only for one person. Conversations and research led to an organization in Southern California founded by Cole Miller. No More Victims. Cole was invited to Marin and spoke to the group about the work already being done and the need and possibility to do more.

February 20, 2008: Founding Meeting

On February 20th, Ruth Group sponsored a talk and video presentation by Cole Miller, founder of No More Victims. NMV has been bringing Iraqi children who were injured by the US military into the USA for medical treatment. Most of these injuries are serious and Iraqi medical facilities are unable to provide the care needed.

Cole’s presentation was hard hitting and saddening as we watched children whose legs had been severed, eyes torn out, hands deformed by blasts , gunshots and fire. Cole tells the story of how each child was wounded with detail and heartbreaking clarity. The Ruth Group audience was moved to tears and outrage as we saw what we have all known for so long, that this war was a tragic mistake that took its toll on innocent people, and has created suffering that will take decades to heal.

March 4, 2008: Update and Join In!

The No More Victims project of Ruth Group to bring an Iraqi child to the US for medical treatment is off to a great start. 40 volunteers have signed up to help, and we have a working connection with the Iraq Action Group, a group of doctors at UCSF. There is an Iraqi child who may be a possibility for our first attempt,

March 8,2008: No More Victims Meeting

The biggest news of all is that as of today, as I write, Dr. Lowenstein emailed us that UCSF has ok’d use of the hospital at cost. Given that all goes well, it will be an in and out surgery. This is the news we have been holding our breath to hear, as without this we could not proceed with this hospital. Thank you to UCSF. We really want to find a way to reinforce what a big deal we know this is, and thank them for their generosity.

Back to our meeting…things happening at a nice pace as far as I am concerned. But we can’t move fast enough. We agreed on a start up three prong fundraising campaign. Our initial goal is $20,000….


March 29, 2008: No More Victims Responds to Mustafa

Ruth Group volunteers spent last Saturday addressing and stamping letters to friends and family in an appeal to raise $20,000. for medical treatment for 2 year old Mustafa. Through the organization No More Victims, we will be sponsoring Mustafa here in the Bay Area for medical treatment. Mustafa’s hearing was completely lost when a US bomb dropped near his home in Iraq. His world is completely silent now. He has been tested by the local medical community in Syria and seems to be a perfect candidate for a cochlear implant. Following the operation he will need months of speech therapy and observation before returning home.

No More Victims, the organization responsible for making this incredible trip possible for Mustafa and his father, hope that he will be coming as soon as June or July. …



Donate soon to bring Mustafa to the Bay Area for Medical Treatment
He may be here as early as June or early July


May 2, 2008: No More Victims Campaign: News Coverage

Friday’s Marin Independent Journal gave very nice coverage to No More Victims and the work by local groups, Ruth Group and Iraq Action Group, to bring an Iraqi child to the Bay Area for medical treatment.

May 18, 2008: No More Victims and Mustafa’s Great News!

The “No More Victims” project has made incredible progress since we began in November of 2007.
Mustafa will be coming to the Bay Area for his surgery and rehabilitation!
He still needs your support.

When we began we knew we wanted to bring an Iraqi child to the Bay Area for medical care. We connected with “ No More Victims”, an organization dedicated to bringing children to the US who have been victims of US bombings. With our help No More Victims is now bringing Mustafa Ghazwan, a 2 year old who’s hearing was completely lost when a US percussive bomb went off near his home. He is due to arrive in July and we have work to do to make his complete care possible.


May 23, 2008: No More Victims – Many Communities

We’ve often posted news here about the involvement of Ruth Group and Iraq Action Group in a No More Victims project to bring 2 year old Mustafa Ghazwan to the Bay Area for a cochlear implant.

We are not alone. No More Victims has projects in many communities, including the Boston area. They’ve forwarded this news clip about 5-year-old Omar Mahmoud, the child they are helping recover from severe burns suffered when US troops opened up on the car he was traveling in. He lost his mother, and almost his own life.

July 7, 2008 – Mustafa Soon To Come!

NO More Victims


UPDATE on Mustafa

Our plans to bring an Iraqi child to the Bay Area for medical care are underway. We are ready for Mustafa. He is in Iraq with his father, awaiting visas and Cole Miller of No More Victims to bring them to San Francisco. Mustafa has inspired us all to bring forth the generosity necessary to make his medical care possible. We have so many to thank. Please read all at the title link…

October 23, 2008 Letters to State Department Urgently Needed!

Mustafa’s father HAS NOT BEEN ISSUED HIS VISA. We are not sure of all the reasons, however, we were told it would be issued within 60 days, and that has long past. As of October 20,2008 Mustafa and his father are still detained in Jordan awaiting a visa for Mustafa’s father.
Ruth Group members have begun contacting the State Department, Nancy Pelosi’s office, Jared Huffman’s office, and others with the hope that the visa process can be expedited. UCSF doctor, Larry Lustig, has written a letter clarifying the urgency of Mustafa’s surgery so that his ability to speak again will not be impaired.

In the meantime, Mustafa’s mother and other son remain in Iraq and Mustafa’s father has taken a leave of absence from work.



December 12, 2008 — Mustafa on His Way!

Three-year old Mustafa Ghazwan is on his way to the U.S.!

After months in Jordan waiting for a US visa Mustafa’s father finally has one! Ruth Group heard just yesterday that it was issued as of December 9th and Mustafa and his father are (tentatively) scheduled to arrive in San Francisco between Dec. 22 and 26. Cole Miller, the founder of No More Victims, will come with them on their journey from Jordan to the U.S.

December 31, 2008 — Mustafa Arrives!

Mustafa Arrives!

SAN FRANCISCO – Cheers rose Wednesday morning when 3-year-old Mustafa Ghazwan came through the security gates at San Francisco airport.

Mustafa didn’t hear a sound.

Totally deafened in a U.S. bombing raid in 2007 that killed three other children and an old man in his village near Baghdad, Mustafa is in San Francisco to receive a cochlear implant that will allow him to hear again.


January 2, 2009 — Mustafa At Home

Mustafa and Father

Local news coverage of Mustafa’s arrival very good: Chanels 2,5 and 7; SF Chronicle and Marin IJ

January 14, 2009 –It Takes a Village – not a cliche

Mustafa Greeters

Mustafa Ghazwan arrived in San Francisco on the eve of the new year. Met by signs of welcome, balloons and cameras, Ruth group supporters, Iraqi American friends, and the news media. It was such a joyful welcome the news media did not want to leave. they interviewed Cole Miller, founder of No More Victims the organization responsible for bringing Mustafa from Iraq, and Mustafa’s father Ghazwan, members of Ruth group, and filmed Mustafa playing happily with balloons and books, gifts from many. The feeling of something good and heartwarming was not lost on anyone, everyone wanted to stick around and soak it up. Everyone wanted to participate in welcoming Mustafa.

[Read all at the title link]

January 17, 2009 — Mustafa Cochlear Implant A Success

Mustafa after operation

Ghazwan al-Nidawi of Baquba, Iraq, holds a copy of the Quran over his son Mustafa after cochlear implant surgery at UCSF Medical Center.

The Saturday San Francisco Chronicle has a good article on Mustafa al-Nidawi’s cochlear implant operation. On line, lots more photos that will bring tears of joy.

[Read all at the title link]

February 18, 2009 — Mustafa Begins to Hear

“Mustafa Ghazwan, age 3, who lost his hearing in an American missile strike in Iraq nearly two years ago, heard sound again Tuesday.

“A cochlear implant, inserted in his ear at the University of California-San Francisco a month ago, was activated early Tuesday morning. By noon, it was playtime as usual for the toddler, back at his temporary home at Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco. He has lived there with his father Ghazwan Al-Nadawi, 33, since his arrival in the Bay Area in late December.

“The trip here was largely arranged and underwritten by members of the grassroots activist Ruth Group of Marin. The sponsor agency was No More Victims, brainchild of Cole Miller of Los Angeles, who has brought nine other young war victims from Iraq for treatment in the United States.

“Ruth Group leaders Amy Skewes-Cox of Ross and Ruth Friend of Mill Valley joined Miller for the crucial moment in a UCSF conference room when the implant was turned on. After several tense moments, Mustafa stopped playing with his puzzle and buried his head in his father’s chest, apparently responding to sounds pumped into his ear by audiologist Colleen Polite.

“He moved his head about, trying to figure out what was happening,” Miller said.

“I think he’s off to a fantastic start,” Polite said.

[Read all at the title link]


February 19, 2009 — Mustafa’s First Sounds

Dear Friends of Mustafa;

What a momentous day! February 17, 2009 and Mustafa has just received the gift of hearing again. In a small conference room on the 7th floor of 400 Parnassus Avenue, 8:30 AM, Dr. Colleen Polite fitted his new device and wired him to the computer to calibrate his new cochlear implant. A room full of individuals waited anxiously – some with cameras, some without. All eyes were on this small little guy with the huge brown eyes as he played with a puzzle at the small table.

None of us knew what to expect. As Dr. Polite adjusted the device and clapped her hands, he looked at her with an inquisitive expression. It was not a huge reaction, not a super clear specific moment….rather, it was a gradual adjustment that you could see was going on for Mustafa as his hearing and brain were working together to make sense of this new sensation. As you can see, it is not easy to put into words. But as Mustafa has shown over and over, he is resilient and able to tackle new tasks with strong determination. There is a long road ahead as his speech therapy lessons proceed. Today is just the beginning.

mustafa-guitar After the appointment, he played in the dining room of Ronald McDonald House, putting pieces of a puzzle together and painting. He acted no differently than he has for the many weeks he’s already been here…content and inquisitive. Andrew Skewes-Cox, age 24, came to play some guitar and children’s songs. When he strummed extra hard on the strings, Mustafa looked up. He laughed and continued to play. As I was leaving, I called out his name when he was looking down at his father’s feet. He looked up, and that one second of response made me realize how unbelievably valuable this entire community effort has been. It may have been just a coincidence; or…he may have heard. Whatever it was, it was the realization that there are great moments ahead.

[Read all at the title link]


March 2, 2009 — Mustafa: The Brain Begins to Hear

Mustafa is the Iraqi boy brought to the US for a cochlear ear implant by Ruth Group and Bay Area friends of No More Victims. After several weeks of testing and getting comfortable with his new surroundings the operation was performed in early February. The video shows his progress, as described below.

[Read all at the title link]

March 19, 2009 Berkeley High School Students and Questions About the War

An award winning film about U.S. soldiers confronting their unexpected and wrenching feelings about shooting Iraqis and testimony from an Iraqi man whose 2 year old son’s hearing was destroyed by American bombs brought 1000 Berkeley High School Students to rapt attention on Tuesday afternoon.

Soldiers of Conscience, winner of several Best Documentary awards in 2007 and 2008, made with help from the U.S. Army, is about military training, the inculcation of reflexive shoot-to-kill instincts and the psychological effect it has. It juxtaposes men who accept their roles and that they will be called on to kill others, with men who on the battle field came to the realization that they could not kill, their refusal and decisions to become conscientious objectors. It is a gripping movie and for a young audience, any of whom may already be confronting choices to join the armed forces or to walk away, it had special resonance.

On the panel that followed the movie was a special guest, Ghazwan, a professor of Media Studies at Baghdad University and father to Mustafa Ghazwan, who lost his hearing in a U.S. bombing raid in Baquba in June of 2007. Through a translator Ghazwan spoke unhesitatingly of the pain of witnessing his child’s injuries and the endless effort to get medical attention.

[Read all at the title link]

April 21, 2009 Mustafa: The Road to Speech

Dear Friends of Mustafa: You’ll love this very short video showing Mustafa learning to speak. He’s only had his cochlear device for 2 months! He’s working here with Dr. Colleen Polite of UCSF.

[Read all at the title link]
May 12, 2009, Mustafa to Stay!

Dear Friends of Mustafa and Ghazwan,

We got absolutely wonderful news last week. Mustafa, our three year old Iraqi friend who we have shepherded through a cochlear implant and subsequent therapy, along with his father Ghazwan, have received permission to stay in the U.S indefinitely! Everyone who knows them both are overjoyed. Mustafa is making rapid progress with hearing and beginning to speak, something which was shut down when his eardrums were destroyed by a U.S. bomb in Baquba in 2006.

[Read all at the title link]




Ruth Group
Box 722
Mill Valley, CA 94941

JUNE 1, 2009


Ruth Group sends you this urgent message regarding Mustafa, the 3 year old child brought from Iraq for medical care. He has received a cochlear implant, and has been attending the San Francisco Hearing and Speech Center for special therapy and classes.

The family has been living at the Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco, but will need to leave by June 30th.

[Read all at title link.]


June 29, 2009 – Mustafa in School: Update and Opportunity

Fundraising Drive for next 6 months housing in San Francisco

San Francisco Unified School District
Funds Mustafa’s Next School Year!!!

Dear Friends of Mustafa and Ghazwan,

Mustafa and Jan at Speech Center

Mustafa and Jan at Speech Center

Last week was full of good news for this family. The SF Unified Schools agreed to fund Mustafa’s next year of school at the Hearing and Speech Center in San Francisco. Mustafa loves school, and has been excelling with his cochlear implant. He now has a vocabulary of 20 words, and can use language to communicate. It is very exciting.

Now that we know where they will need to be, we are madly raising enough funds to get them started in an apartment for 6 months. During this time Mustafa’s mother and brother will arrive, and Ghazwan can begin to look for work. We are confident that this will give them time to be happily reunited, and securely on their own. Please join those who have taken the lead on this leg of Mustafa’s journey and help them over the next six months. They will need to leave Ronald McDonald House by July 31st. No pledge is too small. All donations are tax deductible.

Pledges to date from friends of Mustafa are:

[Read all at title link.]


July 13, 2009 Mustafa News & Update: Apartment Found! Donations Needed!

Dear Friends of Mustafa and Ghazwan,

As you know by now, the SF Unified Schools agreed to fund Mustafa’s next year of school at the Hearing and Speech Center in San Francisco. Mustafa loves school, and has been excelling with his cochlear implant. He now has a vocabulary of 20 words, and can use language to communicate. It is very exciting. He is now attending summer school.

On June 30 we began a fund drive for an apartment for this family.

[Read all at title link.]


December 22, 2009, Mustafa Family Reunited!



January 25 , 2010 Mustafa’s Family Reunion Celebrated

After … months of negotiating, planning and fund raising Ghazwan received asylum in the United States and was finally joined by his wife and second son.  After settling in and getting used to their new surroundings the family was feted yesterday at the Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco. It was a grand celebration of Mustafa’s reunited family, friends, doctors, teachers, and the staff of Ronald McDonald House.  What a joyous time we had. Ruth Group members can feel proud to have sponsored this project, and seeing it through to a successful outcome.

[Read all at the title link.]

November 26, 2010 Mustafa and Family on KGO TV

KGO story on Mustafa’s family Very well done.

This was on Ch 7, 6pm news with Cheryl Jennings:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

June 23, 2011  Mustafa Wants to Go to Summer Camp

Mustafa, now almost 6 years old wants to go to the JCC in San Francisco for Summer Camp. At Summer Camp Mustafa will learn to swim, work in the roof garden, go on outings to museums, and have regular art programs. CAN YOU HELP HIM?


Dear Friends of Mustafa and his family,

Can you believe that Mustafa, the Iraqi boy Ruth Group brought to the Bay Area in 2009 is going to be 6 years old this year!  He has been excelling at the Hearing and Speech Center where he has been in school since receiving his original cochlear implant.  He has since received another for his other ear, at Stanford.  He is quite a conversationalist now, chatty and inquisitive as always, and he is ready for his first adventure in a regular class setting.  The Jewish Community Center has accepted him for Summer Camp for 2 weeks starting  July 11.  The JCC will cover  60% in financial aid toward his tuition.  The total cost is $1420.  We need to raise another $568. for his tuition.

[Read All at Title Link]

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