Ahmed Abdulrahman d. August 22, 2013

Dear colleagues,
We regret to inform you that, Ahmed Abdulrahman, one of our national staff logisticians of the Fellini project in Syria died in what appears to have been an ambush last Thursday (22/08/2013), during which MSF was not directly targeted.

He had been working with us as a logistician in our project since October 2012, when he was part of the initial team that transformed a chicken farm into a hospital which now provides emergency and maternity care to 2.000 people every month.

He is survived by two children and his wife. He will be greatly missed on the project and our sincere condolences go to his family and friends.

Sébastien Roy; HR Director, MSF-OCB

Ahmed did not like the morning logistics meetings. He wanted to get going right away. That was how he was. He liked to do. And whenever something happened in the hospital he was always there: for the patients. When the casualties were many you would find him carrying the stretchers or impromptu fixing something that broke. Once he stood holding two wires together for the length of a full surgical intervention. He was there the whole time. His face showed his devotion.

The electricity disappeared in the street where we live. It took Ahmed no more than five minutes to show up. His young son seated behind him on the motorcycle. Ten minutes later the light was back and Ahmed wheeled away with his son hanging on to his back as best as he could. No time for tea. But the important part was that we had met his son. Ahmed’s fatherly pride was evident for all to see, but Ahmed was too shy to stay and enjoy it. When he finally signed the MSF contract, and gave up the freedom he cherished while being a daily worker, it was all for his family’s sake.

Ahmed was both a bit rough around the edges and sometimes impatient. But his true character was revealed when one of the international staff got scared from all the bombing and dead bodies and left only a day or two after arriving. Ahmed rode with him in the car on the way to the border. In his poor english Ahmed perfectly conveyed his message. His gratefulness for the expat leaving his family and coming to help the people of Syria was profound. Ahmed did not scoff at the fact that the expat was leaving so soon. Instead Ahmed shook his hand, thanked him and kissed his cheek. Ahmed restored the man’s dignity.

You passed too soon, Ahmed. Too soon.

Sebastian Stein, Log-admin-fin

Ahmed a common name in Syria for a very uncommon man I called my friend. We lost Ahmed way before his work for his country was finished. His efforts and creativity at the MSF chicken barn hospital in Syria can be seen today, his love for his country and his bravery will be remembered by all of us that worked with him.

Ahmed was a fighter without weapons. He would put himself in harm’s way physically and politically if he felt it was best for his people and the hospital. He understood what we needed to operate our hospital and would travel into the countryside for needed supplies as well as standing up to leaders of the area if he saw a need. Ahmed spent most of his free time fixing water wells and generators for the surrounding villages. He would ask me if he could borrow our tools after work to make repairs on a neighboring generator, the next morning I would listen to the stories of what he did and that most of the time it was running and water was being pumped. He would smile proudly, then tell me of the next problem he was trying to solve. I remember a day that Ahmed did not show up to work on time and was not a very good worker. After the noon meal I talked with him about this. He raised his shirt and showed me very dark bruises on his back and chest. I asked if he crashed his motorcycle. “NO” and we never spoke of this again.

A man that consciously constructed his own demise. Ahmed was going to help his people till it was over. For him now the war is over, he worked till the last minute for his people. We did not always understand or agree with his methods, but it was clear his motive was for ending the conflict and bringing life to his people. He built wheelchairs for the wounded fighters and a heater for the new born babies all in our hospital shop. We will never know what he did outside our compound with the community, its leaders and the people. But I saw Ahmed’s motivation as selfless.

As expats we say good bye to many good people around the world that we work with. We also wish them well in their struggles to help their people and country. “Good bye Ahmed” your work here is complete, your mission to help your country will be carried on by all of us that shared days with you.

Dan Dirks, MSF-OCB

Dear Ahmed,
At the time of writing it’s less than 4 weeks since we had dinner together – you, me and most of the male staff of Fellini. 4 weeks since you invited me into your home because I was leaving Syria shortly thereafter. I played with your kids and had tea with your father. I cannot even imagine how they must be feeling right now.

You were by far one of our most motivated staff members. We didn’t always agree on things, MSF isn’t always easy to understand, but we agreed on the most important – that we needed to keep doing what we were doing because the needs were huge. And I think you loved doing that. For the people around you, for your village, the neighboring towns and for the children. Your skills, your determination and big heart definitely helped the hospital turn.

You both dreamed of and worked intensely for a peaceful Syria and often spoke of that “after”. After the conflict, after the war. “Now” was just a phase, soon to be forgotten and your life – all our lives – would return to normal. Sadly, for all of us who knew you and worked with you, life will never return to normal. And when the day “after” really comes, and Syria is once again peaceful, you will be deeply missed.

I truly wish things would have been different, and that we could have done more to prevent what happened.

With much respect,
Alexander Buchmann, FieldCo Fellini
By: Göran Svedin