Seema Jilani is a pediatrician and humanitarian aid worker. Besides working in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Egypt, Bosnia, Nepal, and other areas of conflict, she has worked in Texas as a flight physician transporting critically ill children. She is also a Fulbright scholar, a Truman National Security Project fellow, and a Voice of Our Nations Arts Foundation fellow; her writing has appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times. (August 2020)

Follow Seema Jilani on Twitter: @SeemaJilani.


Broken Glass, Blood, and Anguish: Beirut After the Blast

The coffin of firefighter Ralph Malahi, who was killed in the August 4 explosion, being carried to his funeral by friends and colleagues from the Karantina Fire Department, Beirut, Lebanon, August 15, 2020

I turned back to the injured girl. Never in my medical career had I ever left a patient in need. I have been in war zones, from Afghanistan to Gaza to Iraq, but never with my four-year-old daughter. The reality of the situation was swimming into focus for me: choices had to be made. Even as I decided what I had to do, I knew I would be replaying this moment for years to come. “I’m so, so sorry, but my daughter is hurt,” I said to the girl. “I will stabilize you, but I have to go to my daughter.”