Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heroine Turnabout

Dr Ang Swee Chai, a prominent surgeon and author of From Beirut to Jerusalem has now written about her arrest and detention without trial in 1977. She was one of at least 28 people, mostly professionals, who were arrested in Singapore and labelled as Euro Communists. At the time of her arrest, her husband of two weeks, Francis Khoo, a lawyer had escaped to London after many of their friends were arrested and imprisoned. Both she and her husband now live as exiles in London.

Dr Ang Swee Chai grew up supporting Israel. Arabs, she was told, were terrorists. But in 1982, on the television she saw the relentless bombing of Beirut by Israeli planes. Shocked, her view of Israel began to change. It was then that she heard of an international appeal for an orthopaedic surgeon to treat war victims in Beirut. The petit woman - she was just under 1.5 meters - resigned her job in London, bade her husband farewell and set out on a journey to civil war Beirut, there she was to eye-witness the Sabra-Shatila massacres*.

With her husband Francis Khoo, and some friends, Dr Ang Swee Chai helped to form the British charity, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), following the 1982 Sabra-Shatila massacres. In 1987, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat awarded Dr Ang Swee Chai the "Star of Palestine" the highest award for service to the Palestinian people.

Dr. Ang is interviewed here on Lebanese Alhiwar TV.

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