- Title: Cancer fighter ensures Iraqi protesters stay fresh with free haircuts
- Date: 1st January 2020
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BARBER AND SUFFERING FROM LEUKEMIA, MOHAMMED FIRAS KNOWN AS HAMAD, SAYING: "I'm using my profession to serve the protesters. The service here is for free. I have been fighting cancer for four years. All cancer patients in Iraq are being neglected and marginalised, there is no medicine, no tests. As we all know, cancer medicine and tests are too expensive." HAMAD AND ANOTHER BARBER SHAVING PROTESTERS' BEARDS VARIOUS OF HAMAD SHAVING PROTESTERS' BEARD PEOPLE SMOKING SHISHA OUTSIDE TENT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BARBER AND SUFFERING FROM LEUKEMIA, MOHAMMED FIRAS KNOWN AS HAMAD, SAYING: "My message is: Even though I am sick and suffering from (cancer), I have joined protests at Tahrir Square and spared no effort to serve my brothers, the protesters. I am stronger than cancer and corruption. I am fighting both cancer and corruption." MAN WALKING AND CARS PASSING BY HAMAD'S TENT / SIREN HEARD IN BACKGROUND SIGN ON HAMAD'S TENT READING (Arabic): "One hand fighting cancer and another fighting corruption - tent of Hamad, the cancer fighter" HAMAD SHAVING PROTESTER'S BEARD PROTESTERS SITTING AT HAMAD'S TENT CHECKING PHONES WHILE WAITING FOR TURN TO COME (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PROTESTER, NAME UNKNOWN, SAYING: "Hamad is a hero to me and he is fighting corruption, against this corrupt state, despite being sick and he is really suffering from cancer. He needs medicine and is very poor. He left his shop and business to come serve the protesters, these revolutionary heroes. Such an act makes us stronger and more determined to combat the corrupt." VARIOUS OF HAMAD WALKING AMONG PROTESTERS AT TAHRIR SQUARE REVOLUTIONARY COMICS HUNG AT TAHRIR SQUARE / HAMAD TAKING PICTURE OF COMICS HAMAD TAKING PICTURE OF REVOLUTIONARY COMIC COMIC SHOWING POLICEMAN ASKING PROTESTER AND READING (Arabic): "Are you Sunni or Shi'ite?" AND PROTESTER REPLYING: "I'm an Iraqi, I want a homeland" (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) BARBER AND SUFFERING FROM LEUKEMIA, MOHAMMED FIRAS KNOWN AS HAMAD, SAYING: "You (the politicians) are just like cancer, you entered into this country just like the cancer that infested my body. You are too a cancerous cell entering this country, so we must handle you and remove you." HAMAD WRITING ON POST-IT NOTE POST-IT NOTES HUNG ON WALL OF WISHES AT TAHRIR SQUARE HAMAD HANGING CARD ON WALL OF WISHES HAMAD'S CARD ON WALL READING (Arabic): "One Hand fighting cancer and another fighting corruption. We deserve to live. Hamad, the cancer fighter."
- Embargoed: 15th January 2020 11:54
- Keywords: Baghdad Cancer patients in Iraq Health care in Iraq Iraq Iraq protests Tahrir Square Unrest in Iraq
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- City: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003BUCC7DH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Leukemia has not stopped 17-year-old barber Mohammed Firas, known as Hamad, from participating in nationwide anti-government protests that have swept Iraq since October 1.
The barber has set up a tent and moved his equipment to Tahrir Square where he is helping protesters stay fresh by giving them free haircuts and beard trims.
Like most protesters, Hamad lives in poverty. In addition, he struggles to afford medication for his illness that he has been fighting for four years.
Criticising an ailing health care system in Iraq, he is adamant to fight both cancer and what he described as "corrupt politicians" in his country.
Protesters, most of them young, are demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and keeping many Iraqis in poverty without health insurance or public services such as water and electricity.
A 20-year-old protester waiting for his turn at Hamad's tent described the young barber as a "hero" and said his unique participation gives him and other protesters a push to keep fighting.
More than 450 people, mostly unarmed demonstrators but also some members of the security forces, have been killed since a wave of popular unrest began on October 1.
(Production: Maher Nazeh, Mohammed Katfan)
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