In October 1999, Dr Munjed Al Muderis was a talented young surgeon working at the Saddam Hussein Medical Centre in Baghdad when the military broke in with busloads of army deserters to have their ears amputated by the surgeons.
The head of surgery refused to take part in such a barbaric act and was promptly taken outside and shot. In all of the confusion, Dr Muderis managed to hide in a cubicle in the women’s toilets.
After the carnage was over, Dr Muderis knew that he would be a wanted man and couldn’t return to his home, so he found a way to escape the country and a few weeks later he found himself on a leaky boat with 150 other asylum seekers making his way towards the shores of Australia.
He ended up in one of Australia’s detention centres that are used to process asylum seekers in remote Western Australia. He was assigned a number and, like everyone else in these facilities, treated inhumanely while his application was processed. A year later he was finally granted asylum and given the freedom to live and work in Australia.