Walking FreeDr Munjed Al Muderis
2 July 2015
Published by Allen & Unwin
Dr Munjed Al Muderis grew up in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign. He went to school with Saddam’s sons, then started his medical training at Basra University just as the Iran-Iraq War began. One day, as he was working as a trainee surgeon at the Saddam Hussein Medical Centre, he and his colleagues were ordered to remove the tops of the ears of army deserters. He could not bring himself to act in defiance of the medical code of conduct and cause intentional harm, so he had no choice but to flee Baghdad that same day. In Kuala Lumpur he paid people smugglers to get him to Australia, where he was incarcerated in a detention centre and known only as ‘982’. After nine months of being repeatedly brutalised for standing up for himself and other detainees, Munjed was finally freed.
But he had to start his medical training again, from scratch. Now, 15 years later, Munjed is at the forefront of orthopaedic medicine as he pioneers a new form of prosthesis that, ironically, transforms the lives of soldiers mutilated in the Iraq War.
Walking Free is the extraordinary story of a clever young man, born into one of Iraq’s ruling families, who was forced to flee the country of his birth and forge a new and extraordinary life in Australia.