Art-loving Afghan girl given prosthetic arm returns to U.S. after threats (w/ gallery)

Published: June 19, 2014


Picture 1 of 10

Shah Bibi Tarakhail, a six-year-old Afghan girl whose love of painting won the hearts of U.S. doctors who fitted her with a prosthetic, is tickled by her host mother, Ann Drummond, at Shriners Hospital for Children on Thursday, June 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

JOHN ROGERS
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES — When the art-loving little girl from Afghanistan left Los Angeles last April, her American friends sent her away with brushes, an iPad filled with photo souvenirs and a head full of ideas for painting pretty pictures like the one she created with the new prosthetic arm they had just given her.

But while word of the colorful abstract expressionist work Shah Bibi Tarakhail had painted won the 6-year-old widespread praise and even an invitation to visit the Picasso Museum in Spain, it also aroused the wrath of the Taliban.

Word quickly spread to her family that she would be killed for adopting Western ways, and the family fled its small home on the Pakistani border.

On Thursday, with just the clothes on her back and a small bag containing a pink party dress and other items, Shah Bibi returned to Los Angeles. While her family remains in hiding somewhere in the Afghan-Pakistan region, the non-profit group Children of War is placing her with a host family for the next several months. Eventually the group hopes to win her political asylum in the United States.

“When she went back, the minute she got there she became a target,” said Dr. Arsalan Darmal, a Newport Beach psychologist who treated her during her earlier U.S. visit and has remained in touch with her family.

“If she stayed,” added Darmal, who helped get her out, “she knew she was going to be killed.”

Although Children of War has rescued more than 100 youngsters, including many with grievous war injuries like Shah Bibi’s, her case quickly gained international attention. It was an outpouring of admiration fueled both by her plucky if shy personality and her love of art.

She’d lost her right eye and most of her right arm last summer when she mistook a discarded grenade outside her home for a rock, and it exploded, ripping her body with shrapnel and killing her brother. But it couldn’t kill her zest for life.

As soon as she learned how to use the prosthetic arm doctors at Shriners Hospital For Children fitted her with, she began drawing. Children of War, learning of her interest, arranged a painting lesson with prominent abstract expressionist Davyd Whaley, who said he was astounded by her skill at matching colours.

“She kind of has a facility for it if she wants to pursue it,” he told The Associated Press.

After Galerie Michael in Beverly Hills showed her work around, she received the invitation from Spain.

Meanwhile, she and her family had gone into hiding.

She arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday after a perilous three-day bus ride that took her and her father to Kabul from Pakistan days after the father had called Children of War to appeal for help.

“Her father said, ‘I can’t care for her anymore and it’s at a point where she needs to be out of here sooner rather than later,”‘ said the group’s executive director, Amel Najjar.

He told Children of War he had placed Shah Bibi in a Pakistani hospital for several days, partly to have her treated for stress and depression and also just to keep her safe.

In Los Angeles, she had a joyful reunion with several of the people at Shriner’s Hospital who had previously helped her. In the weeks ahead, doctors will fit her with a prosthetic eye and work on removing the scars the shrapnel from the grenade left on her body.

“You remember me?” occupational therapist Vivian Yip asked as Shah Bibi rushed to embrace her.

Soon Yip had her demonstrating her skill with the prosthetic by stringing yarn through children’s blocks, then cutting poster paper into a perfect circle and drawing a happy face on it.

“Thank you,” she said in English, cocking her head and smiling sheepishly when someone praised her work.

01:57ET 20-06-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

kabaddi

Vancouver Lions win first match in World Kabaddi League, beat Sonakshi Sinha’s United Singhs

VANCOUVER DESI Man of the match : Gagandeep Singh Sabrawa (Vancouver Lions) Best Raider: Gagandeep Singh Sabrawa, Vancouver Lions (18 raids) Best Stopper: Sandeep Singh…
Continue Reading »

BEHEADING-MILITANTS-ISIS

Second beheading plunges Obama into top crisis

ARUN KUMAR IANS Washington – Just two weeks after beheading American photojournalist James Foley, the Islamic State (IS) Sunni extremist organisation sent what it called…
Continue Reading »

dead man walking

Man declared dead by hospital wakes up two days later

CEN AGENCY An Indian hospital who declared a man dead discovered he was actually still alive when police turned up an incredible two days later…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

kabaddi

Vancouver Lions win first match in World Kabaddi League, beat Sonakshi Sinha’s United Singhs

VANCOUVER DESI Man of the match : Gagandeep Singh Sabrawa (Vancouver Lions) Best Raider: Gagandeep Singh Sabrawa, Vancouver Lions (18 raids) Best Stopper: Sandeep Singh…
Continue Reading »

BC schools

We don’t want to be held hostage: Students to protest B.C. public school shutdown

IAN AUSTIN, JOHN COLEBOURN AND FRANK LUBA THE PROVINCE Students who should be returning to school Tuesday will instead be protesting because schools are closed….
Continue Reading »

babe SEXY BOLLYWOOD desi

B.C.’s Miss India Canada pageant contestant sues ex-boyfriend to pay for tuition for failed class after breakup

KAMLOOPS THIS WEEK KAMLOOPS — A 22-year-old B.C. woman is suing her ex-boyfriend to pay tuition for a class she says she failed due to distress…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

A Pakistani-Canadian blogger has released Pakistan's first-ever anti-homophobia children's book. Submitted photo/Nicemangos.blogspot.ca.

Toronto-based blogger releases Pakistan’s first anti-homophobia children’s book

VANCOUVER DESI A Toronto-based Pakistani blogger has written and released Pakistan’s first-ever anti-homophobia children’s book. Blogger Eiynah, known for her site Nice Mangos where she…
Continue Reading »

carleton-university-phd-student-selvan-mohan-is-trying-to-ra

International student in Ottawa launches campaign to raise money for new prosthetic leg

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A Carleton University PhD student from Malaysia has launched a fundraising campaign to replace his worn-out prosthetic leg. Selvan Mohan, 24, was born without a…
Continue Reading »

jail sex

B.C. Supreme Court to decide if Kamloops Mountie watching women have sex in jail is a crime

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A judge wants to hear arguments from lawyers about the legality of the charge against an RCMP corporal accused…
Continue Reading »

Rice Bucket India poverty

India’s Rice Bucket Challenge gives a ‘meaningful twist’ to ALS ice bucket challenge

VANCOUVER DESI India has created its own “desi” version of the ALS ice bucket challenge that has swept the globe. While the original icy cold…
Continue Reading »

India

Man proudly wears world’s largest turban weighing in at 100 pounds and 645 metres long unwrapped

VANCOUVER DESI A 60-year-old devout Sikh in northern India appears to be the proud owner of the world’s largest turban – weighing in at 100…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Desi boobs Sonakshi SInha

Gallery: Top 10 Bollywood celebrities who own sports teams

VANCOUVER DESI India’s love for cricket and Bollywood is world famous. When you try and bring the two together, you find the Indian Premier League…
Continue Reading »

Ranbir Kapoor-sports

Ranbir Kapoor: Bollywood’s link with sports is great

IANS Mumbai – Actor Ranbir Kapoor, who has stakes in the Mumbai City Football Club (FC) franchise of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament,…
Continue Reading »

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra: Now I can beat anyone

IANS New Delhi – No, Priyanka Chopra is not talking about the box office competition, but about actually beating up someone physically! And the actress…
Continue Reading »